Iowa DNR gives boating safety tips ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:03 PM CDT
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - Memorial Day weekend is upon us and that means we may be seeing a lot of boats up and down the Mississippi.

Officials from the Scott County Conservation Office said this is one of the busiest weekends for boating.

Boating can be a great way to spend the holiday weekend but can also be dangerous.

Scott County Conservation Officer Nick Rocca gave some details on what gear to have on your boat to keep you safe in case of an emergency.

“A life jacket for each person that’s in good working order and fits that person that’s going to be wearing it,” Rocca said. “Type four throwable device which is your typical square seat cushion, throwable flotation device, as well as a properly charged fire extinguisher and a horn or sounding device that could be a whistle.”

All things, Rocca says you need to have close by if you’re heading out on the water this weekend. He also says check your boat before you leave the house, to make sure everything is in proper working order.

“Making sure everything from the trailer lights are working, to your navigation lights,” Rocca said. “As well as having the plug in the boat and having your safety equipment not only in good working order, but to make sure you’ve got it readily available in your boat so, in the event of an emergency, you can get to it quickly.”

Rocca says most violations are consistent like going to fast or following too closely.

“A lot of the violations we come across out on the river here are speed and distance violations,” Rocca said. “Equipment operations, not having proper equipment, life jackets, fire extinguishers, those types of things.”

In case of an emergency, Rocca says there are some first aid items to keep onboard and ready for use.

“With everything from just simple band aids to tourniquets,” Rocca said. “Anything that we might need that if we come across an emergency out here, as well as an AED.”

At the end of the day, Rocca says their ultimate goal out there is to make sure everybody is safe and enjoying themselves.

“We’re just out there to make sure everybody is recreating and safely operating their vessel safely,” Rocca said. “When the situation becomes unsafe or we see a violation, we will make a stop on the water and, and correct that situation and let them go on their way.”

Rocca also said that with flood waters still receding there will be some floating debris out there and to have a proper look out to avoid those hazards.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island district, announced the auxiliary lock, located at Locks and Dam 14 in Pleasant Valley, Iowa, will open May 26 for recreational boating traffic.