Safety first for Memorial Day boaters

LITTLE ROCK — The Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer for Arkansas’s boating fraternity. It’s one of the busiest and most dangerous times on the water, according to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Boating Law Administrator Capt. Stephanie Weatherington.

“Thousands of people hit the water for a day in the sun, but many do so without fully preparing for the trip,” Weatherington said. “The most important piece of safety equipment is a life jacket. More specifically, there should be a properly fitting life jacket for everyone on board. By law, all children 12 and under must have their life jacket on and secured any time they are on the boat, but everyone should wear them any time a boat is underway.”

Life jackets aren’t the only items a boater needs to check while preparing for a day on the water.

“Prior to going out on the water, boaters need to check their navigation lights,” Weatherington said. “People are out at night and do not think about needing lights until it is dark. Always take a spotlight or flashlight, just in case.”

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