Many people will take advantage of the Memorial Day weekend to get out their boats out for a run on Iowa’s lakes and rivers. Iowa Department of Natural Resources boating law administrator, Susan Stocker, says we’re not expected to see the high water levels we had last year. But she says you should still check on the local conditions before heading out.

“What we are advising people is definitely know where you are going to go boating, and make sure you check those rivers levels. Unlike with the Missouri River where you had all of the flooding last year, or course you’re not going to find that, but you might find some hazards that are in the Missouri River now based on that, and or other areas that are low water that have revealed hazards. So know where you are boating and what the water conditions are,” Stocker says.

With warmer weather this spring, you may’ve already had the boat out this year. If not, she says now is a good time to give the boat a safety check before heading out. “Check your trailer, check your wheel bearings, your tire pressure to makes sure you are able to make it to the lake,” Stocker says.

“And then of course once you get to the lake, make sure you prepare your boat in the launching area. Make sure you have all of your safety equipment, your life jackets, that is required.” Be sure that you have enough life jackets for everyone who’ll be on your boat.

“It can’t work if you’re not wearing it, and the Coast Guard has made some tremendous advancements in the making of life jackets, they’re lightweight, they’re more comfortable,” Stocker says. She says anyone under 12 is required to wear a life jacket while the boat is underway. You should also be sure you have plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent on the boat in case it is needed.