Boat safety tips enforced as 4th of July approaches

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OKOBOJI, Iowa – If you plan on heading to a river or lake for the Fourth of July, it’s important to keep some things in mind to be safer on the water.

Lowell Swalve is a frequent visitor of Lake Okoboji who’s noticed the yearly influx of people that visit the Iowa Great Lakes during the summer holidays.

“The Fourth of July, there’s three times as many boats out on the lake. There’s few of them, probably, that have alcohol, you know, they’ve been drinking. So, you not only do you gotta be careful for yourself, but you got to watch for the other boaters,” said Swalve.

With that increase of boat traffic expected for the holiday weekend, the Iowa DNR said wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) is a must.

“PFD’s are very important. If you get knocked unconscious, which more than likely you will if you get knocked out of a boat, you’re going to sink, so if you don’t have a PFD on, you’re not going to float, you are going to the bottom,” says Capt. Greg Harson, of the Iowa DNR.

And making sure whoever is on the water is driving the boat responsibly.

“If you’re out there and you do partake in drinking out on the water, be sure you stay under the legal limit for the drivers which is .08. If you have hard alcohol, that is not allowed on any of our public waters. So hard liquor needs to stay on shore,“ said Harson.

“It’s just common sense and courtesy to people. If you follow that, it’ll be good for everybody,” said Swalve.

The DNR said there hasn’t been a drowning incident in Okoboji this year, and they hopes it stays that way.

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