DNR provides tips to have a safe and fine free Memorial Day

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- If you're thinking of heading out on the water this Memorial Day the DNR has some reminders for boaters to have a safe and fine free weekend.

The fine for operating without lifejackets can run nearly $300.

The DNR says it reminds boaters every year to have one lifejacket per passenger but conservation warden Scott Thiede says he still sees boats without the proper sizes or condition of jackets which can be deadly.

Thiede explained, “In 2016 there were 108 boating incidents in Wisconsin resulting in 21 fatalities and 81-percent of those people drown. So, the benefit of wearing a life jacket is really obvious; wear your life jacket any time you're in the boat.

Altoona fisherman Bill Johnson says he always makes sure to prepare for the worst whenever he heads out on Lake Altoona.

Johnson gestured to a number of his lifejackets saying, “I've got about six of them on the boat. You can choose your color!”

Theide says there are over 600,000 registered boats in Wisconsin so it's especially busy over holiday weekends like Memorial Day and he says with inattentive driving being one of the main reasons for crashes boaters need to pay attention.

Theide added, “Just like out on the highway inattentive driving is one of the major causes of crashes in Wisconsin. Have someone on the lookout especially if you're towing a water skier or a tuber as an operator be in good condition you know, avoid drinking and driving of course.”

Thiede says it's also important for boaters to remember to bring their safety certificates along to avoid another fine.

“Another common citation is the requirement Boating safety certificates are required if you're age 16 and born January 1, 1989,” added Thiede.

While it's not illegal the DNR also asks boaters be courteous at the boat landings especially with the busy weekend.

Thiede asks boaters don’t block others and asks drivers to be sure they’re well versed in backing in and out of the landing.

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