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Make Safety Top Priority When Boating Over Holiday

LINCOLN, Neb. – Remember, life jackets save lives. A boating incident July 2 resulted in two children being thrown from the tube they were riding. Both were wearing life jackets and neither was seriously hurt.

The July 2 incident occurred at a private lake near North Platte. Two females, ages 12 and 13, were on a tube being pulled by a boat and were thrown after hitting a wake from another vessel. The 13-year-old received minor medical treatment at the scene. The 12-year-old was transported to a hospital, where she was treated and released later that evening. Not only were both girls wearing life jackets, but the boat pulling them had all of the required safety equipment.

Many boaters will be out on the water during the long Independence Day weekend. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offers the following tips to enjoy a safe holiday weekend on the water:

Wear a Life Jacket – Children under age 13, and anyone on a personal watercraft, and anyone being towed by a boat on skis, a tube, or other similar device are required by law to wear a United States Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.

Avoid Alcohol – Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is a criminal violation and is enforced actively in Nebraska. Boat operators may become impaired more quickly due to heat and dehydration. Operation Dry Water is a national BUI awareness and enforcement campaign that will continue throughout the weekend.

Have Required Safety Equipment – Boaters must be prepared for any emergency on the water. Life jackets, throw cushions, fire extinguishers and bailing devices are required on most boats. For requirements, go to the 2013 Boating Guide at BoatSafeNebraska.org.

Be Aware of Surroundings – Boat and personal watercraft operators must be on the constant lookout for other boats, personal watercraft, swimmers, stumps and hazards. Speeds in excess of 5 mph are prohibited within 30 yards of any other vessel, swimming area or dock.

Take a Boating Safety Course – Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1985 operating a motorboat or personal watercraft in Nebraska, must have successfully completed the Nebraska boating safety course. Visit BoatSafeNebraska.org for a list of classes.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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