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8 Boating Tips for a Safe Fourth of July

8 Tips for Safe Boating | Iowa DNRUse these tips to stay safe on the water this holiday weekend and all season long:  

  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix. Wind, sun, glare and heat can enhance the effects of alcohol, hindering the operator’s ability to make decisions.
  • Before leaving the house, check trailer lights, wheel bearings and hitch.
  • Make sure there is a charged fire extinguisher and horn/whistle, a wearable life jacket for everyone and a U.S. Coast Guard-approved throwable device onboard.
  • File a float plan with a friend: include your destination, time of return and type of boat.
  • Wear your lifejacket—it floats, you don’t.
  • Inflatable lifejackets are light weight, comfortable and USCG approved. Wear it.
  • Take a boater education course. It has valuable information and many insurance companies offer a discount on boat insurance.
  • Iowa’s top two safety violations are having inadequate life jackets and operating too fast and too close to other vessels.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of Iowa Outdoors magazine.

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