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3 essential tips for boating safely in Wisconsin

Summer is here, and that means it is time to enjoy the beautiful lakes of Wisconsin. Taking your boat out for a day on the water is one of the greatest pleasures of this time of year.

However, no matter how many times you have done it over the years, it is crucial to review some important safety rules. A fun day can quickly turn into a panicked accident with a simple mishap. Before you head out, make sure you are doing everything you can to boat safely by following these top tips from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

1. Get the right gear

First things first - do you have a life jacket? If so, is it approved by the U.S. Coast Guard? Make sure there are also life jackets for everyone who will be joining you. You should also have a fire extinguisher, operable lights and emergency supplies. If your boat is 16 feet or longer, you must have an approved throwable safety device as well. 

2. Watch the weather

Always monitor the weather. It does not matter if it has been sunny for weeks or that you checked the forecast a few days ago and everything seemed fine. Keep a radio with you to be alert to any rapidly changing conditions that could cause an accident. Sudden choppy waters and heightened winds are signs you should probably get off the water before a storm comes. 

3. Leave the alcohol behind

Alcohol can affect your vision, judgement and balance while operating the vessel. Drinking while boating also increases the chances of getting into an accident. Avoid alcohol use before and during your boating trip to ensure everyone onboard is safe.

Boating is a fun time, but like any recreational activity, it may result in an accident if you are not careful. By following these tips, you are more likely to have a safe and enjoyable experience out on the water.

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