Ensure safe summer on the water: Wisconsin DNR offers boating safety reminders

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — As temperatures rise, it’s no surprise people want to spend some time on rivers and lakes. But with summer fun comes summer safety.

Getting out on the water is a go-to summer pastime for Wisconsin and Minnesota residents.

On Thursday, West Salem firefighters responded to a call where a boat lost power. Firefighters helped pull the boat out of the water.

This is just one type of incident the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources advises boaters to prepare for.

“Those include drowning related incidents when a boat is involved. And that also includes the collisions as well,” said Matthew Groppi, a Wisconsin DNR conservation warden.

You can lower your chances of trouble by following a checklist.

“Certain equipment that is a must have,” said Groppi.

Always have a life jacket that fits and is Coast Guard approved.

“An adult sized PFD would not meet the legal requirement for an infant passenger,” Groppi said.

Make sure you have paddles and fire extinguishers on hand at all times.

“Most of them have a gauge. So if there’s an arrow and it’s green, it’s charged and ready to go,” he said.

Requirements can vary based on the size of your boat.

“Any vessel that’s over 16 feet has to have a throwable or tight floor flotation device,” Groppi said.

If you find yourself losing control of a boat, shut off the motor if you can and drop anchor.

Increasingly common are boats with ignition cut-off switches have to be attached to the operator.

“Or he steps away from the console with the lanyard attached, the boat would just shut off,” Groppie said.

Before you go out on the water, make sure your boat registration is up to date.

To see a list of boating regulations, click here.

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