LINCOLN – With the busiest boating season of the year just around the corner, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reminds the public of ways to stay safe on the water this summer.
Boaters should not take safety for granted. Since May 16-22 has been declared Nebraska Boating Safety Week by Gov. Pete Ricketts, the Boating Safety Section of Game and Parks suggests ways boaters may reduce the risk of incidents and help ensure a safe and enjoyable day on the water.
Wear a Life Jacket – Children under age 13 and anybody on a personal watercraft are required by law to wear a United States Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. People being towed by a boat on skis, a tube, or other similar device also must wear a life jacket.
Avoid Alcohol – Boat operators can become impaired with less alcohol than motor vehicle drivers due to heat and dehydration. Boating Under the Influence is a criminal violation and is enforced actively in Nebraska.
Have All Required Safety Equipment – This will help boaters be prepared if an emergency occurs. Life jackets, throw cushions, fire extinguishers and bailing devices are required on most boats. For a list of what is required on a boat, check out the 2015 Boating Guide at BoatSafeNebraska.org.
Be Wary of Surroundings – The best boat operators constantly are looking around for other boats, personal watercraft, swimmers, stumps and other hazards. Speeds in excess of 5 mph are prohibited if within 30 yards of any other vessel, swimming area or dock.
Take a Boating Safety Course – Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1985, who operates a motorboat or personal watercraft in Nebraska must have successfully completed the Nebraska boating safety course. Visit BoatSafeNebraska.org for a list of classes.