Boaters should not take safety for granted. Since May 18-24 is National Safe Boating Week, the Boating Safety Section of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission 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 2013 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.
Logo courtesy Nebraska Games & Parks Commission