As summer 2010 kicks off to a start this Memorial Day weekend, Missouri and St. Louis area boaters would benefit from remembering certain boating safety rules before heading out to Missouri rivers and lakes. May 22-28 is Boating Safety Week. Boating accidents in Missouri lakes, as well as accidental drownings that occur on Missouri rivers when people go canoeing or rafting, can be avoided with a little more precaution and attention.
An average of 700 people die in boating accidents nationwide. In 2008, the Missouri Water Patrol investigated 13 boating accidents over Memorial Day weekend. Many deaths or injuries could have been prevented with the use of a life jacket or other safety precautions. The Missouri Water Patrol states that many Missouri boating accidents, drownings, and injuries could be prevented if boaters did not consume alcohol or other intoxicants while boating, if all passengers in boats wore life jackets, and if people took a boating safety course.
Often, people are injured or killed by partaking in dangerous activities, such as jumping off high cliffs on the sides of lakes and rivers, or water skiing in a reckless manner. Remember, the legal limit for alcohol consumption while operating a boat is 0.08%. Other important tips to remember are to make sure the boat’s fire extinguisher is in working order, that the the boat’s lights are in working order for night boating, and that there are plenty of life jackets on board.
The Missouri State Water Patrol offers a boating safety course that is required in Missouri for certain operators of boats. Missouri Statute 306.127 requires that all operators of boats born after 1984 must take a boating safety course and have an operator’s license. The Missouri Water Patrol also publishes a handbook of Missouri boating laws, which every boater would benefit from reading.
Remember, a fun, leisurely day on the water can become a nightmare if boating safety precautions are not respected. So please make sure this summer is a fun one with many happy memories, and be safe on the water.