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National Safe Boating Week

May 17 through May 23rd is National Safe Boating Week Is May 17-23, 2014

Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, would like to make the public aware of National Safe Boating Week, which takes place May 17-23, 2014. As the weather starts to warm up, we’re all anxious to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Families and friends gather together to enjoy the outdoors, travel on vacation, and spend time on the water – boating, fishing, sailing, and more. It’s important to include safety when planning recreational water activities.

It’s no coincidence that National Safe Boating Week is the week prior to the Memorial Day weekend. The majority of boaters most likely have not had their boats in the water yet this year. Thus, boaters are encouraged to inspect their vessel to make sure all equipment is in good, serviceable condition. One great way to ensure all your boat’s equipment is in good working order is to have a courtesy equipment inspection performed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, or the U.S. Power Squadron. Troopers will perform a courtesy inspection on the water if you wave them over and request one.

It is imperative that everyone wear a life jacket at all times in and around the water. Missouri law requires children under seven to wear a life jacket at all times while on board a boat unless in an enclosed cabin area. Make sure you have a life jacket for each person in your boat.Choose a life jacket that fits properly and is approved for your activity and body weight.

In addition to your life jacket, remember these boating safety tips:

1) Don’t drink alcohol while you’re boating.
2) Know Missouri’s boating laws before you get onto the water.
3) Check the weather. Know the forecast prior to going out, and check for changing conditions regularly.
4) Make sure you can keep in touch. In an emergency situation, cell phones and having a good float plan, which includes someone on shore knowing when you are leaving and when you should return, is important.

Boaters are reminded to contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol using *55 if they need assistance, or observe another boater operating a vessel in an unsafe manner.

“The Missouri State Highway Patrol would like the 2014 boating season to be fun for everyone,” said Col. Replogle.