With Memorial Day weekend nearly upon us, Indiana Conservation Officers remind Hoosiers to make water safety a priority then and throughout the summer.

“We urge all Hoosiers recreating around our waterways to recognize the danger water poses, even to strong swimmers or experienced boaters,” said Capt. Jet Quillen of DNR Law Enforcement. 

The DNR says that when recreating around water, follow these basic safety tips:

-Discuss the dangers of water with your family and loved ones before going out.

-Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.

-Go with a buddy.

-Do not venture around flooded or fast-moving waterways.

-Wear a life jacket.

-Keep an extra watchful eye on children.

-Avoid alcohol.

The DNR says, “If you go boating, make sure you know the rules and boat safely. Reduce speed in unfamiliar areas and be aware of unusual water conditions respective to your size and type of boat. These are not only safety tips, but also important environmental considerations. Regardless of your boat type, assess water levels before going out and monitor your speed while underway.”

“Designate a sober boat operator. Alcohol causes impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgement, and slower reaction time. Wave action, sun exposure, and wind can magnify these effects. It is illegal to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft in Indiana while intoxicated due to alcohol or drugs. Indiana law defines intoxication as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater.”

“Each life jacket should be United States Coast Guard approved, in good working condition, and size appropriate for the wearer. New life jackets are designed to be lighter, less obtrusive, and more comfortable. Inflatable lifejackets allow mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, or paddling, and can be much cooler in warmer weather than older-style life jackets.”

To learn more about boating education and safety, see on.IN.gov/boatered.