It’s not by mistake that this is National Safe Boating Week, the week prior to the first big holiday weekend of the summer season. Iowans are encouraged to thoroughly check over their boats and equipment before hitting the water. Scott Eveland, a boating safety officer, says Iowans are much more likely to get hurt in a boating accident than in a car wreck.
Eveland says: "If you’re going to operate a three-thousand pound piece of metal on defined traffic lanes and with brakes, you have to take a test. We’ll give you a three-thousand pound piece of fiberglass with no defined traffic lanes and no brakes and traffic coming from any which way, you don’t have to prove you know what you’re doing. It’s kinda’ scary sometimes."
Eveland says the vast majority of boating crashes in Iowa and nationwide are due to operator error. He adds, many of the deaths related to boating crashes can be prevented with a simple accessory. He says most people who die in boating accidents drown, something that could often be prevented by wearing a life jacket at all times.
With the advances in technology and fashion in many life jackets, Eveland says there is really no excuse to not wearing one on the water. Eveland says anyone who operates a water craft should take the course periodically to refresh themselves on boating safety, and there may even be a financial incentive.
He says, "The hook that we use is to tell people that if they complete a boating safety class, most of the time, they’ll get an insurance discount." The Iowa Department of Natural Resources offers a Boater Education Program. For information, visit "www.iowadnr.com/law/boating/". Forecasters say Iowa should have great Memorial Day weekend weather, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the 70s and lower 80s.