Boating tips for Memorial Day weekend

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - If hitting the water is a part of your Memorial Day plans, there are some very simple things you can do to make it safe as well as fun.

With the Spring Flood 2017 water receding, David Bloodworth, the general manager of Blue Heron Marina warns you, "There's all kinds of debris floating around under the surface that you never even see."

First things first, "If you're getting ready to go on a boating trip, tell someone where you are going on the lake," Bloodworth said.

He also said simply, be safe and follow the laws.

"Federal law enforcement and state law enforcement will be on the lake this weekend checking everything, best thing to do is be safe," Bloodworth explained.

Be safe, especially if you are drinking Bloodworth said.

"If you have two or three beers you don't want to be sitting in the driving seat because they can write you a DUI ticket just like driving a vehicle," he said.

Fisherman Ron Waldron compared driving a boat to driving a car.

"The person operating the boat cannot be above the legal driving limit just like on the highway," he said.

Ron spends nearly six to eight hours, six to seven days a week fishing on Crab Orchard Lake.

The fisherman also said to make sure you have enough fuel before you depart. One-third to leave, one-third to come back and one-third for emergencies.

Lastly, and most importantly, if you have kids Bloodworth reminded of parents of one thing to never forget.

"Make sure the little ones have their life jackets on – they are required to wear their life jacket at 12 and under," he said.

Below is a pre-departure list to make sure you have everything you need, courtesy of "Illinois Boating," Illinois Dept of Natural Resources, 2013 Edition:

  • Check the weather forecast
  • Make sure the steering and throttle controls are operating properly
  • Check that all lights are working properly
  • Check for any fuel leaks from the tank, fuel lines, and carburetor
  • Check the engine compartment for oil leak
  • Check hose connections for leaks or cracks, and make sure the hose clamps are tight
  • Drain all water from the engine compartment, and be sure the bilge plug is replaced and secure
  • Make sure you have enough fuel or know where you can refuel
  • Check to be sure you have a fully charged engine battery and fire extinguishers
  • If so equipped, make sure the ignition safety switch and wrist lanyard are in good order
  • Make sure you have the required number of personal flotation devices and that they are in good condition
  • Leave a float plan with a reliable friend or relative

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