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A busy Labor Day weekend expected on Iowa waterways

As the unofficial end to summer approaches, boaters will experience high volumes of traffic on the waterways and at the boat ramps this weekend.

DNR officials are reminding anyone hitting the water this weekend to be aware of their surroundings at all times and practice all common safety measures.

“With what appears to be a very favorable forecast for the extended holiday weekend, we expect to see many people out on the water enjoying some of the last nice weather of the season,” said Susan Stocker, DNR boating law administrator and education coordinator.

DNR will have enforcement officers on the lake monitoring all vessels and boaters to ensure all safety precautions are being taken to prevent any crashes, injuries or fatalities.

Last year over the Labor Day weekend, there were a total of five boating incidents reported, two involving property damage in excess of $2,000 and three incidents with personal injuries.  One individual was also arrested for boating while intoxicated over the holiday weekend.

Officers remind boaters to boat sober or have a designated driver of the boat.

“Boaters need to remember that .08 limit in a vehicle is the same on the water. In fact, drinking while driving a vessel can be more dangerous at times because of the direct impact from the sun on your body temperature and the loud noise from the boat motor,” said Jeff Swearngin, chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Bureau.   

Be sure to have life jackets on board for all boaters and ensure they fit properly, have all proper equipment, including a working fire extinguisher, on board while on the water. 

“We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend on the water, and that is only possible with your help,” Stocker said. 

Media Note: The following conservation officers may be contacted to arrange for interviews or ride-alongs ahead of the Labor Day weekend:

  • Central Iowa: Matt Bruner at (515) 290-0527
  • Scott County: Jeff Harrison at (563) 349-9418
  • Northeast Iowa: Andrew Keil at (563) 590-1945
  • Clear Lake: Ben Bergman at (641) 425-0828
  • Great Lakes area: Steve Reighard at (712) 260-1018
  • Lake Manawa: Adam Gacke at (712) 520-5570

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