With the dog days of summer in full swing, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is advising boater safety as many people head to the water to beat the heat.
In a press release this week, the Wisconsin DNR advised boaters to wear a life jacket, saying 16 people have died in the state this year due to boating incidents. The DNR says that people involved in boating incidents often know how to swim, but can be deprived of oxygen after becoming injured or unconscious.
The DNR advises wearing a life jacket that fits the boater and is fastened when on or near the water. One life jacket is required for each person in the boat, the DNR said.
“Wearing a life jacket is the easiest thing you can do to make sure that your next boating trip won’t be your last,” said Lt. Darren Kuhn, DNR Boating Law Administrator. “Make sure you and all other passengers are wearing it with the buckles fastened before you cast off.”
The DNR also stressed enjoying the waters by remaining sober or staying under blood alcohol limits.
The Wisconsin DNR also reminds boaters of a recent law change involving a boat’s engine cut-off switch. The law that went into effect in April requires operators to clip the lanyard switch to themselves in case they go overboard or are thrusted back when accelerating. This allows the engine to be shut off instead of the boat moving through the water unmanned.
The law does not affect trolling when moving through the water. It is for vessels moving through the water at a faster rate of speed.