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Boating safely: Alaska Wildlife Troopers share how to stay safe on the water this summer

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 4:15 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Traveling on the water is part of summer in Fairbanks. From small rafts to big riverboats, many Alaskans choose to spend time on the rivers and lakes around the Interior.

However, doing so can be dangerous.

Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sergeant Michael Potter says one of the most dangerous parts of Alaskan water is the temperature. Even in the summer the water can be cold. He says the best way to ensure safety on the water is to wear a life vest whenever you are on a water craft. Doing so can give you a better chance of survival if you end up in the water.

While adults aren’t required to wear a life vest, having one available for anyone on a boat is. Potter also says that children under 13 are required to be wearing a life preserver at all times.

According to Potter, a boat “is basically any watercraft you can navigate on the water. It specifically excludes things like inner tubes, or pool toys. So, if you are floating on an inner tube, you do not need a life preserver by law, although it’s not a bad idea.”

Potter said that over the summer, Wildlife Troopers will be patrolling waterways around town to ensure the safety of those on the water. He also reminded people that it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and doing so will result in a DUI.

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