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Staying safe during boating season


POSTED: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 10:00pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 10:14pm

Kurt Mayes is from Louisiana.  He's spending a few days fishing on Lake Fork.

He says the conditions aren't exactly ideal.

"They got about 5 foot swells...pretty tough out there," Mayes said.

But Mayes says they always keep safety in mind.

"Any time you're out running your boat, you always want to make sure you have your life jacket on," Mayes said.

Wood County Game Warden Kurt Kelley reiterates that basic rule -- telling KETK there should be a life jacket for everyone on board.

And if the boat's 16 feet or longer, at least one spare throw cushion.

Mayes says even though lake levels are improving, there are still exposed rocks and stumps.

He says boaters need to print out a map of the lake to become familiar with it and watch the weather -- if you have to get out in the wind, avoid crossing open water.

"They haven't paid any attention to what the weather's gonna do and they'll get on one side of the lake early in the morning and they'll be in a small craft.  And the winds will pick up and that's where we run into a lot of our problems," Kelley said.

The game warden says a good idea is to put your cell phone in a ziplock bag before you get out on the water...just in case something happens.

And if you do fall in while temperatures are like they are now, hypothermia can set in quickly.

"Pack an extra set of clothes...put them in your boat, something dry.  And if you happen to fall in, the first thing you need to do is obviously try to get back in the boat...if you can, try to dry yourself off and put some clothes on...if you can't do that and you're in some winds and stuff you need to try to get to the nearest bank and get out and try to warm up," Kelley said.

The game warden also says if you're going out alone, tell people where you'll be, how long you'll be gone, and of course, take your cell phone.


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