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Wisconsin DNR urges boaters to actually put on the life jackets when boating this summer

Wear a life jacket and boat safely on Wisconsin's waters this year.
Wisconsin DNR
Wear a life jacket and boat safely on Wisconsin's waters this year.

Wisconsin State Law requires a life jacket on board a boat for every person in it, but it doesn’t require people to wear one.

Wisconsin DNR Boating Law Administrator Lt. Darren Kuhn hopes people will anyway.

Twenty-eight people died in boating accidents in the state last year, 27 of them weren’t wearing life jackets.

“Wear your life jacket please. They used to be old, uncomfortable, and bulky, hot. Nowadays they come in every shape and color in the rainbow. They're comfortable, they're user friendly, and they save lives. So please take the boat safety a step further and wear your lifejacket,” said Kuhn.

Kuhn also encourages people to keep the engine cut off switch tethered to the driver. This will help stop the boat and prevent crashes.

It’s required on the Great Lakes and the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. Kuhn recommends it on all water bodies.

“What we're starting to see more and more around the nation are people being thrown off the boats either accidentally or hitting big waves or falling off the captain's chair because of the weather and the water conditions that they're in. As a result, the boat keeps going,” said Kuhn.

People born after January 1st, 1989 are required to taking a boating safety course to legally operate a motorboat.

Kuhn encourages people to leave drinking for on land and have a designated boat operator like you would a designated driver for the car.

“Everyone has equal use for the water. We all need to share the water together. Be responsible, be respectful of other uses,” said Kuhn.

There will be increased law enforcement presence out on the water over the holiday weekend.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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