State Wildlife Agents handed out their fair share of tickets this Memorial Day weekend. Safety is the number one goal for Wild life Officers. They tell me 16 people in the state of North Carolina have died from boating incidents this year.
“We want people to be safe and have an enjoyable time and return safely home,” said Brandon Lyon.
Lyon is a Wildlife Officer in New Bern. He says this weekend was packed with boaters.
“Most of the violations we have seen this weekend have been children under the age of 13 with no life jacket on, people exceeding the no wake speed or going to fast in a no wake zone and when it gets sunset, people are not running their navigational light, which is important to be seen by other boaters.”
Lyon says when the boat is floating or moving all children under 13 must wear a U.S. approved floatation device at all times. If they don’t, the parent or guardian gets a 50 dollar fine.
“We do have parents sometimes who will say that their child can swim and we say a lot of our boating accidents involve head injuries where they are knocked unconscious when they go into the water and it’s impossible to swim if you’re unconscious.
A seasoned boater since 1955 says he raised eight grandkids on his boat and he’s offering some advice to others.
“Know what you are doing out here, have a little bit of knowledge of the rules of the road and have the safety equipment on board and just be careful of your surroundings and other people,” said David Griffith.
Lyon says another thing to remember when you’re on the boat on a hot summer day is to drink plenty of water, not alcohol.
“The law for operating a boat while impaired is the same as it is on the road, point 0.8 don’t drink and drive.”
For those still looking to get out on the water the rest of the season, don’t forget to have the required items on your boat.
You need to have as many life vests as there are people, a fire extinguisher, and a throw cushion. If you plan to be on the water after dark, lights are mandatory.
If you have any questions on boating regulations, you are asked to call the wildlife hotline.