Boating season will be here soon. Are you ready to enjoy some fun on the water? Here are some boat and personal watercraft safety tips:
Preparation before hitting the water
- Know your boating rules, regulations and safe practices for boating safety. View the Iowa Boating Handbook (PDF) and Online Courses.
- Alcohol and drugs do not mix with boating operation.
- Practice the “one third” rule – one third fuel going out, one third coming in – and one for reserve.
- Let your relatives and friends know your float plan. Where you are going, and when you will be returning.
- Watch the weather reports before you start out on the water. Watch for changes in waves, wind and clouds that may alert you to bad weather.
- Have your boat inspected by a professional. You want to make sure everything is in good working order.
- Have life jackets, floating devices, lights, fire extinguisher on board.
- Make sure your boat is covered by your insurance in case of an accident.
On the water
- Wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. Life jackets should have at least a 50 m.p.h. impact rating. Life Jacket Zone” message coming soon to boat ramps located in State Parks across Iowa. The Iowa DNR has designated boat ramps to be “Life Jacket Zones” and is promoting that all boaters wear their lifejackets while on or near the water.
- Be aware for other boats, swimmers and objects. Know where other boats are before you make a turn or cross a wake.
- Do not operate your boat at dark without proper lighting.
- Follow markers and signs on the water.
- Be aware of vegetation and stay clear of it.
- Do not exceed the maximum load limit.
- Cold water cools the body 25 times faster than air of the same temperature. If you fall off your boat, get back on board as quickly as possible.
Especially for your personal watercraft
- Wear a small whistle
- Make sure that the water you operate in is at least 30 inches deep.
- Avoid causing erosion by operating at slow speed and by not creating a wake when operating near shore or in narrow streams or rivers