With summer in full swing, Indiana Conservation Officers remind Hoosiers to make safety a priority when recreating around bodies of water.
“Even when fun is your main focus, always recognize the danger water poses, even to strong swimmers or experienced boaters,” said Capt. Jet Quillen of DNR Law Enforcement.
If you are going to be recreating around water, follow these basic safety tips:
— Discuss the dangers of water with your family and loved ones before going out.
— Wear a lifejacket.
— Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
— Go with a buddy.
— Do not venture around flooded or fast-moving waterways.
— Avoid alcohol.
In addition to basic water safety, Indiana Conservation Officers also stress the importance of boating safety and remind boaters to know the rules of the water.
Reducing a boat’s speed in unfamiliar areas and being aware of unusual water conditions respective to the size and type of boat are not only safety tips, but also important environmental considerations. Regardless of your boat type, doing an initial assessment of water levels and current speed are essential.
Designate a sober boat operator. Alcohol causes impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgement, and slower reaction time. These impairments can be magnified by wave action, sun exposure, and wind. It is illegal to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft in Indiana while intoxicated due to alcohol or drugs. Indiana law defines intoxication as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater.
A lifejacket should be United States Coast Guard approved, in good working condition, and size appropriate for the wearer. New lifejackets are designed to be lighter, less obtrusive, and more comfortable. Inflatable lifejackets allow mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, or paddling, and are much cooler in warmer weather.
“A person is never too old to wear a lifejacket,” said Lt. Kenton Turner, Indiana’s Boating Law Administrator. “The majority of Indiana drownings on public waterways involve adults.”
To learn more about boating education and safety, see: dnr.IN.gov/lawenfor/8678.htm