With the Memorial Day holiday nearing, many Iowans are getting their boats ready for launch and National Safe Boating Week starts today. Susan Stocker is the boating law administrator and education coordinator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Stocker says the numbers of boating-related arrests, injuries and deaths were all down in Iowa last year compared with 2012. “We only had 56 boating while intoxicated arrests in 2013 and 17 personal injuries and three fatalities,” she says. “It’s all having to do with education and making sure everybody’s safe out there.” In 2012, there were 95 BWI arrests, 21 personal injuries and 10 fatalities.
Stocker says all boaters need to follow the rules and regulations while enjoying the water. She says there are no new rules for the boating season this year, but many carry-overs. “Make sure when you’re out there boating that you have a wearable life jacket for every person on board and make sure they fit the intended user,” she says. “Young people under age 13 are required to wear their life jacket while the boat is underway. Make sure you have a fully-charged fire extinguisher, a horn or whistle.”
Also, if the boat is at least 16-feet long, have a throwable device, like a life preserver, in case someone falls in and they can rescue themselves. Read more about boating safety at www.iowadnr.gov/Recreation/Boating
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City