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The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds boaters to take extra precautions and prepare for increased traffic on the water for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Many Missourians have been safely enjoying the state’s lakes, rivers, and streams this year. Last year, over the holiday weekend, there were two boating fatalities and two drowning deaths in Missouri.
The Highway Patrol reminds boaters not to let boating safety practices slide as the summer draws to a close. Remain vigilant and stay alert. Don’t become a victim.
• Inspect all vessel safety equipment and replace anything that has become worn or broken over the summer.
• Stay alert. While you may have operated your boat safely all summer, do not assume that every boater is as experienced or familiar with safe navigation practices. Allow for an extra margin of error in congested areas and assign passengers to help watch for other boats.
• Wear those life jackets. Missouri law requires that children under the age of 7 wear an approved flotation device. The Patrol recommends flotation devices for those seven and above, because drowning after unexpectedly falling or being thrown overboard is the leading type of fatality boating crash.
• Designate a captain in advance. If alcohol will be part of your plans, before boarding the boat, designate a captain who will not consume alcohol. Troopers will be working extra hours to keep Missouri waterways safe over the holiday weekend.
• Education comes first. Don’t forget your boating safety certificate.
Those born after Jan. 1, 1984 are required to possess a boating safety certificate while operating vessels on Missouri lakes.
By planning ahead and playing it safe this Labor Day weekend you can ensure a great end to the summer. Do your part to ensure Missouri’s lakes and rivers remain safe this holiday weekend. Boat smart!