Iowa DNR Talks Safety Ahead of Boating Season

DES MOINES, Iowa -- As spring temperatures warm up more people will be getting outside and participating in outdoor activities like boating. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources wants people to remember safety tips if you decide to take a boat out onto the water.

Iowa DNR Conservation Officer Aron Arthur said one of the most important things to do is wear a life jacket.

“Life jackets are the seat belt of the boating world and you are required to wear a life jacket at the age of 12 and under, but you also have to have one in the boat for any adult in the boat. It’s important to make sure it fits properly and is the right size for your weight,” Arthur said.

Another thing to remember is registration especially for motorized boaters.

“In Iowa any non-motorized boat that is 13 feet or longer are required to be registered and numbered. Any motorized boat on public water needs to be registered and numbered. As far as a test, there is a safety course we do require that if they are 12-17 and going to operate a motorized boat. If they are going to operate a boat that is ten horsepower or bigger they are required to have that certificate and carry it when they are out there so they can display it to us,” Arthur said.

Todd Robertson with the Iowa DNR said not only should you be wearing a life jacket you need to be dressed appropriately for the water temperature even if it’s warm outside.

“They don’t realize how cold the water is. It will take over a month for the lake to warm up, even if we get some warm weather. General rule of thumb that we have is if the air and water temperature doesn’t equal 120 degrees then you are at risk for hypothermia,” Robertson said.

The Iowa DNR has a variety of tips and safety course information at iowadnr.gov.