FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Some of you may be hitting the water this Labor Day and we want to make sure you are safe boating.
Lake Fayetteville is about 200 acres and some parts as deep as 35 ft. There is plenty of space for boaters to enjoy but if you are not careful you or a loved one can get hurt.
Angela Perea is the owner of Marina Operator here at Lake Fayetteville Boat and Bike. Perea says first check the boating rules for the lake where you are boating.
Here at Lake Fayetteville for example, it is a no swim lake. It is also a no-wake lake which means boats cannot go above idle speed.
“In the state of Arkansas to use any personal watercraft with a motor on it, you have to be born before January 1, 1986 or have a boater safety certification… So if you’re coming out to places that rent the boat or you have your own boat make sure that you fulfill those requirements,” said Perea.
People want to have fun out on the water but there are ways to do it responsibly. Perea says just like driving it’s important the boat operator is not distracted. You also don’t want anything to impair your judgment when out on the water.
So, as a reminder boating and alcohol do not mix. The parks and recreation department does not allow smoking, vaping or smokeless tobacco in any parks, trails, or lakes within the city.
Perea adds that it is also very important to have a first aid kit and a life jacket for each person aboard. Life jackets save lives and there’s no excuse not to wear one when out on the water.
Perea says a life jacket should fit properly and be U.S. Coast Guard certified.
“Accidents happen and if you don’t have that life preserver and something happens and you hit your head and you don’t have that life preserver on… there’s nothing stopping you from ending at the bottom of the lake… So it is very important at all times to have that preserver available,” said Perea.
She says to also keep the weather in mind. On a hot sunny day make sure to have plenty of water with you and stay hydrated. She adds to not forget that sunscreen, and other protective wear like hats, long sleeves and sunglasses.
You do want to avoid getting in the water if there is lightning. Don’t forget to check the wind speed – because that can also create some dangerous situations in the water and cause a boat to capsize.
Now if you are bringing any valuables with you like your cellphone or keys, her advice is to have them in a water safety bag so if they end up overboard they stay afloat and not 30 feet under.