Boating Safety Week reminds people to be careful in the water
Saturday marked the start of National Boating Safety Week. Before anyone even goes into the water, Meteorologist Luke Culver says that people should know what to expect on the river.
"We actually have a current and forecast river levels for many of the rivers across Alaska," Culver said. Those forecasts can be found
"One of the issues if the water is going to get higher is you may have a lot of debris floating downstream, like tree branches and things like that which could be hazardous," Culver went on to say.
Another thing to watch for from a weather perspective is thunderstorms, which can be dangerous.
Culver said "If you are out on the water and you see or hear a nearby thunderstorm, it's important that you get to shore as quickly as possible," If getting out of the water isn’t possible, Culver said to get as low in the boat as possible and keep hands and feet out of the water.
After knowing the weather, boaters need to prepare their boats. Sergeant Michael Potter is an Alaska Wildlife Trooper and says that having a life vest is the most important thing, "Wearing a life jacket is really critical in cold water, not just having it in the boat but wearing it. That's really key. [It's] not required necessarily, but it is a very good idea. If you have a life jacket, your chances of getting out of the water are dramatically improved."
Beyond that he says to have the proper safety equipment. "That would include signaling devices, fire extinguishers, throwable life preservers, that kind of thing. It's a fairly long list but those are the main things,” Potter said.
He also encourages people to be smart about drinking while boating.
"I would say it's not really the best choice. If you must do it, obviously be very cautious and don't consume too much," said Potter.
Potter also says that if people are in control of a boat and intoxicated, they can be charged with a DUI.
More information about safe boating can be found on the National Weather Service’s Safe Boating
Potter also said that people can contact the Alaska Coast Guard Auxiliary Office for boating classes or call Alaska Wildlife Troopers or Fish and Game.