How to stay safe while on the water

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) - The warmer weather has a lot of people taking their boats out on the water.

Are you doing everything you can to keep you and your passengers on your boat safe as we head into the Memorial Day weekend?​

Hitting the lake or the river is a great way to cool off during the summer heat, but Courtney Todd with Lake Poinsett State Park said before you hit the water there are a few things you need to do.

Todd said, "Do a safety check, make sure everything is in working order when you go out."

It is also important to have everything you need loaded for a safe day on the water.

Todd said, "You have to have safety equipment on your boat.  You have to have a life jacket for every person on the boat, it has to be in good working order, also be the right size for each person on your boat."

Keeping count of life jackets on the boat isn't the only thing you need to keep count of either.

It is important to keep track of the number of people your boat allows.

Todd reminds everyone, "It is illegal to overload your boat so if your boat says 3 people, well you can only have 3 people in the boat."

It's also important to have things on a boat for when something may go wrong.

Todd said, "Phones don't always work on our lakes but if they do, it's a good idea to have one so you can contact somebody for help."

In case your phone dies,  there are some other ways to avoid major problems out on your boat.

Todd said, "Let somebody know where your going, when you're going to be there, who all it's going to be on your boat, a good description of your boat and when you expect to be back, so if you're not they can contact help."

And it is important to know what body of water you are in for different reasons.

Todd said, "Each lake and each river might have different regulations.  Federal rivers and lakes have a few more regulations than what state only has. So the best thing to check is what kind of boating you're going to do.  Get on to the Arkansas Game and Fish web site or look at their regulation book.  It will tell you all the information you need for what type of boating you're doing and where you're boating."

So be sure to be prepared this weekend when you hit the water to have a fun, safe Memorial Day weekend.

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