Before you make plans to head out on the water, the Department of Marine Resources shares some boating safety tips and statistics.
DMR says to never operate a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s illegal and can be potentially fatal. Boating under the influence can get you a BUI.
You should always have a life jacket. In 84 percent of boating accidents when drowning is the cause of death, the operator or passenger wasn’t wearing a life jacket.
You should also take the time to get formal boating education. There are online courses and in-person courses available. In 74 percent of boating accidents, the operator had no formal boating education. Captain Patrick Levine with the Office of Marine Patrol said, “As we go into Labor Day Weekend, that’s typically our last big boating weekend of the season. During this Labor Day Weekend, I want you to think about safety. Make sure you have those life jackets, make sure you have the necessary equipment, make sure if the people on board are consuming alcohol you have a designated driver.”
To legally operate a vessel, any person born after June 30th, 1980 is required to pass a boating education course approved by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.