LAKE OF THE OZARKS - As Missourians gear up to enjoy the warm spring and summer weather, a nationwide campaign is raising awareness about water safety.
The National Safe Boating Council and the National Weather Service teamed up to promote National Safe Boating Week. The program lists many tips for staying safe on the water including:
- Staying aware and alert about the possibility of severe weather
- Making a "float" plan so that people onshore know where you are and when you plan to return
- Have the proper safety equipment
- Do not operate any watercraft while intoxicated
- Wear a properly-sized life jacket http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/checklist.htm
According to Captain Tim Hull of the Missouri State Water Patrol, life jackets can save a person's life, even if he or she is knocked unconscious. The U.S. Coast Guard's 2010 statistics state that 88 percent of boaters who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.
National Safe Boating Week runs through Friday, but the Missouri Water Patrol stresses water safety year round, especially during holidays. Captain Hull said there will be extra patrols on Missouri waterways this weekend looking for intoxication, life jackets, and unsafe boating.