Boaters urged to use caution as busy holiday weekend approaches

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:39 PM CDT
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POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - Many people will travel to area rivers and lakes as Memorial Day weekend approaches.

Along with the people, many boats will be out in the water.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is urging boaters to know the rules of the water before launching.

“Number one thing we want to remind folks of is to always have a properly fitting life jacket on board the vessel for everyone that’s going to be on board the boat,” said Randy Zellars, Assitant Chief of Communications with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “The number one cause of fatalities that can be completely prevented is by simply wearing that lifejacket.”

While most will follow the laws and regulations, some choose to boat while intoxicated, which could cost you.

“If you are the one that is operating a motorboat and are found to be over the legal limit, it’s the same way as if you were driving a car,” Zellars said. “You can actually lose your car driver’s license as a result of boating under the influence violation as well.”

In recent years, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office has deployed marine units in the county’s waterways to monitor boaters.

“We want everybody to be on the river and have a good time, but then again we have to keep the public safe, and that’s our primary focus is keeping the public safe on these holiday weekends,” said Randolph County Sheriff Kevin Bell.

Even when following all laws, both agencies ask you to keep an eye on your surroundings.

“You can be the safest driver in the world, but somebody else may not be adhering to those rules and regulations. It’s best for you to always be aware of what is going on around you,” Zellars said.

AGFC expects Memorial Day weekend to be one of the busiest we’ve seen in recent years.