Put safety first with a checklist before boating

Three boat explosions in three weeks. Conservation officers say action by boat owners is what it’s going to take to keep safety priority number one.

The water is vast and beautiful, but unpredictable. “Never take the water for granted,” said long time boater John Shafer. He has thirty years on the water. Schafer says you can never be too prepared. “All of a sudden the current went out of nowhere, raised up my boat and started driving me backwards. I actually hit a concrete wall,” said Schafer.

Conservation Officer Greg Youree says before hitting the water get in tune with your senses. “We listen for things when we turn the power on. Listen for odd noises. We smell for fumes and things like that.” said Youree.

Look to make sure your navigational system is working properly. Watch for water level buoys. Make sure that your boat is equipped with life vests of the proper size for each person on the boat. Have a first aid kit. And be sure that your boat is equipped with some floatable device.

Flares, a horn and whistle are additional pieces on Schafer’s boat. “I want to make sure everything is there before I get in the water. Because as soon as you don’t that’s when something is going to happen,” said Schafer.

Prepare, plan and take precautions. “Have a plan. If a fire starts in the front I’m going to do this. If a fire starts in the back or an explosion happens I’m going to do this,” said Officer Youree.

You can never be too careful when setting off for a cruise on the water.

Officer Youree says take extra time to check yourself. Double check yourself by having another boater go over the essentials before getting out on the water.

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