MSHP asks residents to remember importance of National Safe Boating Week

Submitted Content
MSHP
MSHP water patrol.

Colonel Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, would like to stress the importance of safe boating by making the public aware of National Safe Boating Week, which takes place May 22-28, 2021. National Safe Boating Week is purposefully scheduled just prior to Memorial Day weekend, which many people consider the kickoff to the boating season.

Boaters are encouraged to make time for a thorough inspection of their boat prior to taking it out on the water this boating season. Weather, time, and other elements may affect the readiness of your boat. The Patrol’s marine operations troopers are available to inspect the required equipment on your boat, at your request, to make sure you’re in compliance with state law. To help facilitate these inspections, marine operations troopers will be at the following boat equipment inspection stations on Saturday, May 22, 2021:

Lake of the Ozarks State Park Public Beach #2 -- 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Old U.S. Highway 54 Osage Beach, MO

In addition to an inspection, boaters should familiarize themselves with Missouri laws regarding boat operation and traditional navigational rules. Missouri law requires everyone born after January 1, 1984, who operates a vessel on Missouri lakes to possess an approved boating safety identification card. This includes those operating a personal watercraft.

When boaters understand and obey the law, and vessels are in good operating order, everyone’s experience becomes safer.

A life jacket for everyone on board is a must! Children under seven years old are required to wear a personal flotation device while in a boat, but you are never too old to wear a life jacket! Although not required by law, children playing along the shoreline or on a dock should wear a life jacket. A drowning can occur quickly, with little or no sign the victim is struggling. Life jackets save lives, please wear yours!

It is important for each boat operator to know the capabilities of their boat. Reducing your speed in unfamiliar areas and being aware of unusual water conditions respective to the size and type of boat you operate are just a couple of environmental considerations.

Extended time in the sun and the constant motion of the water effects every vessel operator. It's important to recognize the dangers of boater fatigue. Stay alert while enjoying Missouri's lakes and rivers. Additionally, if you combine alcohol with boater fatigue your reaction time and thought process will be much slower. Designate a sober captain if you choose to consume alcohol.

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

Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear It!!