Regardless of why you are around bodies of water, you should always recognize the danger water poses, even to strong swimmers or experienced boaters, Indiana Conservation Officers point out. If you are going to be recreating around the water, please remember these basic safety tips:
• Always wear a lifejacket
• Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return
• Go with a buddy
• Never venture around flooded or fast moving waterways
• Avoid alcohol
In addition to basic water safety, Indiana Conservation Officers are also stressing the importance of boating safety and are reminding boaters to know the rules of the water.
Reducing the boat’s speed in unfamiliar areas and being aware of unusual water conditions respective to the size and type of boat are among the important environmental considerations. Regardless of boat type, an initial assessment of the water levels and current speed are essential prior to beginning your voyage.
Designating a sober boat operator should always be a priority. Alcohol causes impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgment 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 percent or greater.
Another priority is lifejackets. Lifejackets should be United States Coast Guard approved, in good working condition and size appropriate. 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