The Missouri State Highway Patrol has announced that May 17 through May 23 — the week before Memorial Day weekend — is National Safe Boating Week. Officials with the MSHP want to remind Missouri residents to make safety their No. 1 priority when they hit the lakes and waterways during the upcoming warmer months.

While many Missourians love spending time on the water, a fun day of recreation can quickly turn tragic when safety is neglected. The superintendent of the MSHP said that close to 100 boating accidents occurred in the state last year, which resulted in 17 deaths and at least 87 injuries. The goal of National Safe Boating Week is to reduce those numbers.

In order to do that, the superintendent of the MSHP said all boaters should adhere to the following boating safety tips:

Inspect your boat before heading out for the first time this season. Courtesy equipment inspections are offered upon request by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squadron.

Have a life jacket for each person in your boat that is approved for body weight and activity being performed. Also, children under the age of seven must wear a life jacket at all times while on board a boat under Missouri law (unless in an enclosed cabin area).

And a few additional tips…

  • Always be alert and aware when in and on the water.
  • Don’t drink alcohol while you are boating.
  • Review Missouri’s laws for boating before heading out.
  • Check the weather report before going out on the lake and keep an eye on the sky for possible storms.
  • Have an emergency plan, including a way to call for help and a person on shore who knows where you will be.

If a serious boating accident should occur, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer after getting medical treatment for information on obtaining compensation for your injuries.

Source: Missouri State Highway Patrol News Releases, “MSHP: National Safe Boating Week is May 17-23,” May 2, 2014

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