Going Boating? Safety Tips You Need to Know

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The weather is getting nicer which means boaters are hitting the water.

Just like on the road, when you’re on the water you have to pay attention.

John Hoban knows all too well the consequences of not paying attention.

“Some guy was down in his boat and wasn’t paying attention, and I had a brand new boat and he rammed me right in the side," said John "Buck" Hoban, a fisherman with more than 50 years of boating experience. "A friend of mine who was with me jumped up real quick and saw him hit us and it kept us from getting hurt.”

J.J. Winkler has been boating since he was 12-years-old. He has his own way of watching out for boaters.

“You just have to take a proactive approach to it. Watch out for everyone else-- just like driving a car. Be aware of everyone around you and what they’re doing," said Winkler.

This week is National Safe Boating Week. The National Weather Service wants to make sure your safety boating knowledge is as second nature as safely driving a car.

“It gives everyone a chance to stop and think about preparedness just like when you put a seat belt on in a car. When you get on to a boat, it’s a life jacket, [you have] to get that life jacket on," said Teresa Keck, warning coordination meteorologist.

Wearing that life jacket could be the difference between life and death.

Game and Parks Officer Roger Thompson said if someone falls off of a boat and hits their head, a life vest is what’s going to save them.

"The other thing that we see a lot of and we fish Lake McConaughy quite a bit is you see the kids have life jackets on but none of the parents," said Hoban. "It only takes once, you go down and a lot of the time you don’t come back up.”

If you plan on boating this summer, in the state of Nebraska it’s the law for anyone born after December 31, 1985 to have a boating education. You’ll get a certificate, kind of like a fishing licenses, that you’ll need to carry with you while on the water.

Other safety tips while out on the water are to avoid alcohol while on a boat. It's easier to become dehydrated because of the heat. Also, always check your surroundings, watch for other boats, swimmers even stumps or unusual hazards in the water, and have the required safety equipment in the boat at all times.