Memorial Day weekend boaters who are getting on the water for the first time this year need to be prepared, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Herb Angell, boating law administrator, says a lot of owners probably have not thought about their boat since they put it away last fall.
“One of the things we tell people to do is make sure to check and see if you have all your equipment that you need before you go out,” Angell tells Nebraska Radio Network.
That includes a horn or a whistle, a bailing bucket, and a life jacket for everyone onboard.
“Wear your life jacket,” Angell says. “They don’t work, if you don’t wear them – just like seatbelts.”
Life jackets must be worn at all times for kids who are 13 years old and younger, and anyone on a personal watercraft.
Angell says a common mistake is boaters ignoring the five-mile an hour or no wake law within 30 yards of another boat.
Otherwise, he says you need to be alert.
“Keep a sharp lookout. Watch what’s going on around you,” Angell says. “We have 87,000 boats registered in the state. If they all go out, it’s going to be pretty crowded.”
Those born after December 31, 1985, have to take boating safety class.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:38]