FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – May is progressing along and Memorial Day Weekend is almost here! That means many boaters are looking to get back out on the water. However, you should make sure you have a safety plan in place before heading out on the lake.
Captain Jet Quillen, Public Relations Captain for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement, says that water safety starts at home. Parents should talk to their children about the dangers of being on the water. This education helps avoid future tragedies early.
There are two main safety tips for people to follow on the water. The first is you should wear a life jacket no matter what. It should be United States Coast Guard approved, size appropriate, and in good condition. You can find life jackets in fun designs for the kids and there are even inflatable ones that make you feel like you are not wearing one at all. Wear them because they save lives. Whether you are a good or bad swimmer, Captain Quillen has never encountered a drowning victim that was wearing a life jacket because they do work.
The second main tip is you should avoid alcohol. You can have a good time on the water, but you must do so responsibly. Have a designated boat operator in order to avoid potential tragedies. Quillen’s job is to patrol the waterways and you will be subject to arrest if you are found to have been operating a boat with a blood alcohol level over the 0.08 percent limit.
Other tips include making sure you drink plenty of fluids and apply sunscreen while on the water. Staying hydrated will help prevent any heat-related complications while away from shore.
There are a lot of drowning deaths that occur each summer, so it is important to follow these safety tips. If you can plan accordingly and all members of your boating party are familiar with the safety plan, everyone will be prepared for an emergency.
Ultimately, an emergency on the water is extra dangerous because you do not have easy access to emergency services or first aid. If an emergency occurs, do everything you can to render aid on board while immediately heading toward the shore. Make sure they are comfortable with plenty of fluids and out of the sun if possible.
Quillen and DNR officials will be patrolling the waters from Memorial Day to Labor Day. They conduct law enforcement and can respond to emergencies if needed. If you want to learn more about boating safety, visit the DNR’s website here.