OUTDOORS: Keep safety in mind as Kentucky's recreational boating season launches

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By The Staff

By Art Lander, Jr.

Ky. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Resources

The just completed Memorial Day holiday served as the unofficial start of recreational boating season in Kentucky.

Boating safety officials with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are urging everyone who plans to be on the water to keep safety in mind. About 90 percent of all boating accident victims die as a result of drowning.

"Wearing a life jacket is the most important step you can take to keep you and your family safe on the water," said Zac Campbell, boating education administrator for the department's Division of Law Enforcement. "Your odds of surviving an unintentional fall overboard with a life jacket on are substantially higher. Just remember your life jacket’s got your back."

Conservation officers will be out in full force patrolling the state's lakes and rivers, watching for impaired boaters and checking vessels for required safety equipment.

Boaters are most often written up for expired boat registration, not enough life jackets on board, boating under the influence, going too fast in an idle speed only zone or having no fire extinguisher on board.

Boaters should also remember that youths ages 12 to 17 must have a valid Kentucky boater education card to operate a boat or personal watercraft of 10 horsepower or more.

For complete information on boating regulations, safety requirements and boat operation, consult the 2013-14 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide, available wherever fishing licenses are sold. The guide also is available online at fw.ky.gov.