Summer boating safety tips

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO (KPLR) – Big crowds are expected on area lakes and rivers this holiday weekend due in large part to the recent hot weather.

With larger than normal crowds comes a greater than normal risk of problems.  Water safety expert Joel Rauch with Stateamind Water Sports teaches numerous water safety courses every summer.  He wants everyone to have a good time this weekend but offers these suggestions to make sure everyone stays safe.

First and foremost, keep good situational awareness on the water.  You need to watch not only where you are going, but keep an eye on every other boater out on the water.

He also reminds everyone to review the laws pertaining to personal floatation devices and who needs to wear them and when.  Laws are different in every state.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:

•Travel only in areas appropriate for your type of boat

•Carry a Coast Guard approved life vest (PFD) for each person on board (age requirements vary)

•Operate your boat at a safe speed

•Have a designated lookout to keep an eye out for other boaters, objects and swimmers

•Never jump a wake

•It’s always safer to go boating with a partner

•Make certain your trailer is in proper working order and that your lights work and your boat is secure on the trailer before you travel to your destination

•When trailering your boat, balance your load including items stowed inside your boat

•Don’t mix boating with alcohol or drugs!