Digital Exclusive: Labor Day weekend boating safety

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Labor Day weekend is right around the corner and that means lots of people are going to be out enjoying the water causing waterways to be busy.

The Iowa DNR has released some boating safety tips to make sure people are being safe while having fun out on the water.

The boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa DNR, Susan Stocker, said when in the water this weekend, the people driving the boats need to be cautious and watch for water hazards.

Due to the forecast of the weather for the weekend, the DNR is predicting heavy boat traffic for the holiday. Boating etiquette should a top priority as ramps will likely be busy, said Stocker.

“Everyone is excited to get on the water,” Stocker said. “Be patient, and when it’s your turn be ready to launch. Courtesy on the water goes a long way in avoiding problems.”

Stocker added in the release that one way to prevent problems when boating is to avoid alcohol when operating boats.

“We want boaters to have fun on the water, but we don’t want that fun to end in a boating tragedy. Boaters need to keep safety in mind while on the water,” Stocker said.

A safe day on the water starts in before leaving the house. Everyone should have a properly fitting life jacket on board and make sure that all safety equipment is on the boat.
“Remember, life jackets only work when worn,” Stocker said. “Life jackets float, you don’t.”

Here are the Iowa DNR’s boating safety tips:

  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix. Wind, sun, glare and heat can enhance the effects of alcohol hindering the operator’s ability to make decisions.
  • Before leaving the house, check the trailer lights, wheel bearings and the hitch
  • Make sure there is a current fire extinguisher and horn/whistle, a wearable life jacket for everyone and a USCG approved throwable device onboard.
  • File a float plan with a friend, including your destination, expected time of return and type of boat.
  • Wear your lifejacket – it floats, you don’t.
  • Inflatable lifejackets are lightweight, comfortable and USCG approved. Wear it.
  • Take a boater education course. It has valuable information and many insurance companies will offer a discount on boat insurance.
  • Top two safety violations in Iowa are having inadequate life jackets and operating too fast and too close to other vessels.

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