The unofficial first weekend of summer is just ahead and some Iowa lakes will be so thick with boats, you’ll almost be able to walk from one shore to the other without getting wet. Allen Crouse, a recreational safety officer with the Iowa D-N-R, says boats that don’t have new registration stickers had better not get caught in the water. This is a registration year and all vessels must have current registration stickers and decals displayed or the operator will face fines. Iowa requires new registration on watercraft every two years, though Crouse says we’ll go to a three-year system in 2007. He says boaters will want to make sure all of the proper paperwork is on-board. They’ll also want to make sure their fire extinguisher is charged, that their navigation lights are all functioning, that the battery is charged and that they have plenty of fuel. Crouse says another important item is the life jacket. There has to be a life jacket, of the right size and in good condition, for every person in the boat. He says most people who have been killed in boating accidents weren’t wearing life jackets, deaths which he says could have been easily prevented.
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