Boating safety awareness ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

GRAFTON, IL (KPLR) – It’s a quiet start of the day for Corporal Charles Bowles and that’s just fine for this Missouri State Highway patrolman, who runs up and down the river.

“Usually from Memorial Day to Labor Day is our peak boating season, so there will be a maximum number of recreational boats out on any of the state waterways,” Bowles said.

This Memorial Day Weekend begins the boating season for those on local rivers and lakes, but recent high waters bring a warning.

Due to recent flooding, Bowles is reminding boaters or anyone heading out near a waterway to take extra precautions.

“You know, high water causes a lot of debris to come down. Stuff that’s been left on the shore when it was high in the past will get dislodged and float. Most of the time you can avoid it during the day,” Bowles said. “Our problems will occur at night. When people are operating at night and you can’t see a log and you hit that and it throws people overboard.”

Whether it’s the quiet before the storm or just a good day on the river, Corporal Bowles has a message for all.

“If you’re on the water the best thing to do is have a life jacket on. Even if you’re the best swimmer, if you go in and hit your head, a life jacket will keep you afloat,” he said.