Area lakes and reservoirs see an increase in recreational boating during the summer, especially on weekends and holidays.
According to the United States Coast Guard, there were over 4,000 boating accidents last year, resulting in 49 million dollars damage and 701 fatalities.
Kansas State University associate professor of recreational resources, Sid Stevenson, says one of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking they can drink alcohol and still drive a boat.
In addition, Stevenson says driving on water isn’t like driving on the highway.
Boaters are encouraged to wear a personal flotation device, and most states require children 12 and under to wear a life vest. In addition, boats should be examined to make sure they’re in good condition before heading out. Stevenson says boaters also need to follow all rules regarding “no wake” areas and reduced speeds around docks.
Stevenson says a good rule-of-thumb is to never travel at a speed near a dock that you wouldn’t be comfortable hitting the dock at. More safety tips can be found at: www.uscgboating.org.