How to Safely Have Fun on the Water This Summer

by Safety Connection

Before you spend time boating on Wisconsin lakes and rivers, take a few minutes to make sure you have the proper equipment onboard and brush up on your boating safety skills so that everyone can have a fun, safe experience.

  • Never use drugs or alcohol before or during boat operation.
  • Provide a U.S.-Coast-Guard-approved life jacket for each person onboard. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommends that everyone wear their life jacket on the water. You can learn how to properly fit a life jacket here.
  • Tell someone where and when you’re going and when you will return.
  • Monitor the weather forecast and if bad weather approaches, get off the water quickly. According to U.S. insurance claims, the odds of a boat being struck by lightning in a given year are 1 in 1,000. Most of those strikes occur in the afternoon.
  • Equip your boat with a fire extinguisher and keep emergency supplies in a waterproof pouch (including a first aid kit, flares, and a cellphone).
  • Make sure you have operable boat lights and carry extra batteries.
  • Wear sunscreen and know the signs of heat-related illnesses.
people riding in a speedboat

According to the Wisconsin DNR, “operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness and speeding are the four leading causes of tragic watercraft crashes.” The leading cause of death is drowning.

Did you know that if you are at least 16 years old and will be operating a motorboat or personal watercraft in Wisconsin, you need to pass a boater safety course and carry a boater education card?

You can find all the Wisconsin Boating Laws and Responsibilities here.

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