Safe boating |

Safe boating

Staff reports

A little courtesy and a life jacket are all that’s needed to have fun boating this Memorial Day holiday, say the people who will be patrolling this weekend.

Cindy Clampitt, state liaison officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary encourages everyone to wear a life jacket when out on the water.

“Even the animals,” she said. “We’re taking our dog and he’ll wear a life jacket.”

Wearing a life jacket may also earn boaters up to $1,000 cash from the Nevada Division of Wildlife. The wildlife division began its summer-long promotion “It Pays To Wear Your Life Jacket” Friday.

The promotion is designed to reinforce boater awareness on the importance of wearing a life jacket while enjoying Nevada’s waters.

Boaters out on Lake Tahoe, Lake Lahontan or Topaz Lake may be stopped this weekend. If everyone in the boat is wearing a life jacket the boaters will be given an envelope containing rewards such as food, merchandise or up to $1,000 cash.

According to the North American Safe Boating Campaign, 700 to 800 people die each year in boating-related accidents — out of 10 victims who die, nine were not wearing life jackets.

Clampitt said a safe holiday begins with everyone wearing a life jacket. Other tips for being safe on the water include: watching the weather and not drinking and driving on the highway or on the water.

“Watch the weather, especially since it looks like we may have some wind this weekend,” Clampitt said. “A small boat may be capsized or blown off course, and when it’s windy it can be treacherous on Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake.”

A little courtesy along crowded beaches is also appreciated, Clampitt said.

Clampitt will be patrolling at Lake Lahontan.

Boat owners will be fined $25 for each person in a boat with no life jacket. Owners are required to provide a life jacket for each person in the boat.

In most cases, the boat will be sent back to shore until owners can meet the requirement, said Chris Healy, public information officer for the division of wildlife.

Those who find themselves in trouble on the water should radio the Coast Guard for help. Those without radios should call 911 on a cellular phone. If capsized it is best to stay with the boat, but “wearing a life jacket is the biggest of all,” Clampitt said.