The Memorial Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial start of summer as well as the start of boating season in Iowa. Susan Hager, the boating safety coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says this is Safe Boating Week in Iowa and all boat owners need to take stock of their gear.
Hager says, "Memorial weekend is just around the corner and we want to make sure everyone is safe out on the water, making sure their safety equipment is in the boat, their fire extinguishers, a wearable life jacket for every person on board, a horn or a whistle and a throwable device." She says there will be many boaters on Iowa’s lakes and rivers this weekend who haven’t been out in a while, so everyone will need to be extra careful to abide by the rules.
Hager says, "We have 234,000 boats registered in Iowa. The number keeps growing. There’s a lot more boating traffic out there. We want to make sure there are no accidents and people are having a good time." Iowa legislators considered a bill this past session to crack down on drunken boaters, but the blood-alcohol level at which a boater is considered drunk was -not- changed. Hager says the level for boaters is still point-one-oh, two-tenths of a point below motor vehicle drivers.
Hager says: "If they’re out on the water, having a beer and enjoying themselves, they need to make sure there’s a safe and sober driver to operate the boat. They also need to be aware, just because they’re under the legal limit of .10 on the boat and if they test from an officer .09, when they load up that vehicle and trailer, they’re now legally drunk to operate that vehicle and take that boat home." For more information on safe boating, visit the DNR’s webs ite.