NORTHWEST, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says it’s seen more and more people start up their boat motors and hit the waters! At the same time, there’s also been a significant increase in boating accidents within the past year.
Captain Al with Beyond the Ozarks River Tours says there are several things people need to know about staying safe off the dock.
The first thing about staying safe is if you’re going to get on a boat, you should put on a life jacket. Fitting enough, Friday, May 21 is Wear your life jacket to work day and kicks off boat safety week.
Captain Al says you want to make sure your life jacket fits properly, is fasten and secure at all times while on a vessel. He adds there should be a life jacket for each person aboard including child-sized life jackets for kids.
In addition to life jackets, there are several safety types of equipment you must-have for your boat. This includes first aid kit, throwable floatation device, sound signaling device and fire extinguisher to name a few.
Anytime you spend time outdoors, you also want to stay hydrated. Bring water and have sunscreen or a hat to protect you from the sun.
He recommends checking the forecast before heading out to make sure you don’t get caught out in bad weather. Captain Al says if there is lightning stay off the water.
If you are out boating make sure to let a friend and family know where you will be, what time you expect to get back and details about your trip in case of emergency.
The best way to be prepared is by taking a boaters education course and it will break down what you need to be safe on the water.
More Boating safety tips –> National Safe Boating Council