POLK CITY, Iowa — With Memorial Day weekend signifying the unofficial start to summer, there will be plenty of people heading to the lake. That’s why it’s important everyone on a boat stays safe.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Angela Jansen said there needs to be a life jacket for everyone on the boat. Only kids under 12 have to wear them while the boat is moving.

Boaters also need a fire extinguisher and a horn or whistle on board.

Like driving, operating a boat under the influence is both dangerous and illegal.

Boats also have to maintain a certain distance from each other depending on their speed.

Regardless of the rules, it’s important the boat’s driver always be aware of their surroundings.

“Always know your surroundings,” Jansen said. “When you’re driving the boat, make sure you’re watching for other boating traffic, make sure you’re watching for water skiers or tubers either on the skis or in the water. Just be mindful of everybody else on the water.”

People over 16 also need fishing licenses in Iowa. They can be purchased directly from the DNR’s website or at many stores throughout the Metro.