Heavy Boat Traffic Expected for Memorial Day Weekend
Posted: 05/17/2011

Memorial Day weekend is the first major boating weekend and boaters are encouraged to go through their watercraft and brush up on the laws before leaving their driveway.

Susan Stocker, boating law administrator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said spending a few minutes checking the boat and required safety equipment at home can prevent problems or delays on the water.

"We don't want boaters to have to leave the water because the boat lights didn't work or they didn't bring enough life jackets. Those are things that can be corrected by going through the boat and trailer before pulling on to the ramp," Stocker said.

Stocker said lakes and boat ramps will be busy places this holiday and patience and ramp courtesy will be at a premium.

"I would encourage boaters to prepare their boat for launching before it is their turn to launch because there will likely be a line of traffic waiting behind them," Stocker said. "The ramps will be busy, we know that. Be patient and respectful to other boaters. Everyone has the same goal of getting on the water. Spending time on the water for Memorial Day Weekend should be fun."

There are about 247,000 registered boats in Iowa. The DNR as well as other law enforcement agencies will be patrolling rivers and lakes during the popular holiday weekend.

Iowa BWI Law Changes July 1
Iowa will have a new, lower limit for boating while intoxicated beginning July 1. The .08 blood alcohol concentration was signed into law this spring and is intended to reduce vessel accidents, injuries and fatalities caused by alcohol impaired boat operators.

2010: 5 Fatalities, 3 Alcohol related
2009: 3 Fatalities, 2 Alcohol related
2008: No Fatalities
2007: 10 Fatalities, 5 Alcohol related
2006: 5 Fatalities, 3 Alcohol related