LINCOLN, Neb. – Boating is one of many ways Nebraskans celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has reminders for ways to safely enjoy a day on the water with friends and family.
Boaters should not take safety for granted. 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 2017 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. Keep an eye on the weather forecast.
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.