Tips for staying safe on the lake

The lure of our region’s open waters is real, it’s also a very real danger for those who wade in unprepared. Pay attention to the weather forecast and pack proper gear to help ensure a safe day on the lake. Here are a few additional tips we hope you will read through, then visit this link for more information.

BEFORE YOU GO FLOATING:

Don’t just pack it; wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket – always when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level.

  • Life jackets are not just important to wear on a motorboat when you may be traveling in deep water, they are important on non-motorboats, such as canoes.
    • Canoes can tip over easily.
    • Canoe spills often take place in water that has a swift current.
    • It is very difficult to swim in rapids.
  • Check the label to find out the size and user weight the jacket is intended for.
    • Make sure all straps, zippers, and ties are fastened. Tuck in any loose strap ends to avoid getting hung-up.
    • Make sure the jacket fits just right. It should be snug.
    • here should not be excess room above arm openings.
    • The life jacket should not ride up over your chin or face.
  • After most drownings from canoes or kayaks, life jackets are seen floating nearby—empty.
  • Life jackets also offer extra protection if the water is cold.

Inflatable children’s toys and water wings can be fun, but they are no substitute for a life jacket and adult supervision.

ADDITIONAL OPEN WATER SAFETY:

  • Check local weather reports and be aware of storm warnings.
  • Develop a float plan and give it to a responsible person. The float plan should contain details about where the boat is going and how long it will be out. This is important because if the boat is delayed, becomes lost or encounters problems, someone can come to help.
  • Giving a float plan to a responsible person or friend is just as important for a canoe or kayak trip as it is for a motorboat.
    • Canoes or kayaks often travel in secluded or scenic sections of lakes or ponds where there may not be other people around to help.
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