Boaters: Know Before You Go!

Captain Matt Walz, director of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Water Patrol Division, is emphasizing the importance of boaters being informed about river and lake conditions before they put their vessels into the water. Recreational boaters are being discouraged from operating their vessels on flooded waterways where property will be negatively impacted by boat wakes, especially over the upcoming holiday weekend. Memorial Day weekend is generally one of the busiest of the boating season: Use caution in selecting your destination. The high-water levels on many of the waterways around our state will impact property, including structures in some areas, and boat wakes will only increase the damage. By state law, boat operators are required to operate in a careful and prudent manner and exercise the highest degree of care. 

Boaters are encouraged to use the old boating adage of know before you go and to research the river and lake conditions before operating a vessel in a flood-affected area. Many waterways, regardless of current water levels, will contain a significant amount of floating debris due to the recent heavy rains and high-water levels. Thus, boaters must maintain a proper lookout for potential hazards in the water and exercise caution. In addition, many of the boat access areas on waterways may be affected.

Wearing a life jacket is always a great idea. But, if you choose not to wear your life jacket, it must be readily accessible. 

Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear It!!