HomeBoat InsuranceDNR reminds lake goers of boating safety tips | News

DNR reminds lake goers of boating safety tips | News

(Des Moines) — As temperatures continue to heat up, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reminds people of a few ways to stay safe while boating this summer.

Summer has officially arrived, and with that comes plenty of residents heading out onto lakes and other bodies of water throughout the state. Susan Stocker is the Boating Law Administrator and Education Coordinator with the Iowa DNR. Speaking on KMA’s “Morning Show” program Friday, Stocker says one of the top safety tips is reminding residents that alcohol and boating don’t mix.

“People don’t realize that while having alcohol out on a boat, the effects of the wind, glare, and sun enhances the effects of alcohol,” said Stocker. “So, we want to make sure that the operator and all of the passengers avoid alcohol.”

Stocker says to always have life jackets that would fit every person on board, have a throwable floatation device on vessels longer than 16 feet, and pack a fire extinguisher and a horn or whistle. She says they see a couple of violations frequently.

“Even through we’re almost in our third year of registrations, people often don’t have their boats properly registered and we find a lot of capacity issues, with people overloading their boat,” Stocker emphasized. “That’s very important to avoid, because the manufacturer lets you know based on the capacity, how much flotation the boat can support.”

Stocker also reminds boaters to watch their speed and distance from other boats to avoid possible accidents. She says those out on the lake should be aware of their surroundings.

“We have buoys out on the water, but you’ve got boats and people coming at you in all different directions,” she said. “So, the operator and the passengers serve as extra sets of eyes when out on the water.”

Stocker says anyone who wants to go out on the water should also have a “float plan.”

“It’s just telling someone where you’re going and when you’re going to be back, so it’s similar to phoning a friend,” said Stocker. “So, let them know what body of water you are going to be boating on and what type of boat you have. Because, often in emergency situations when people are looking for individuals, they don’t always know that you actually have a blue, open-motored boat that’s 16 feet and that you put in at a specific boat ramp.”

Stocker also recommends that individuals take a boater education course through the DNR, which she says many insurance companies will often offer discounts for on boat insurance. You can register for the course on the Iowa DNR website. You can hear the full interview with Stocker below:

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