SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Natural Resources Police officers will be patrolling the state’s rivers and lakes during the Labor Day weekend. This weekend typically signals the end of boating season for Mountain State residents.
While West Virginia is a landlocked state, boaters are fortunate to have more than 2,000 miles of navigable streams and numerous lakes open for anglers and boaters to enjoy. But before you get out on the water, here are few things you should know:
Be Educated. Operating a motorboat is like driving a car. There are several things you need to do to keep yourself and others safe. You should take a boating safety course before operating a motorboat. Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986 must successfully complete a Boating Safety Education Course before operating a motorboat or personal watercraft upon the waters of this state.
Life jackets (PFDs) save lives! Water-related deaths, injuries and incidents in West Virginia happen because someone was not wearing a life jacket of PFD.
Be Sober. You should never operate a boat while under the influence of any substance. More than 15% of recreational boating fatalities are linked to drinking while boating.
Be Prepared. Always inspect your boat to make sure all necessary equipment is in working order. And watch local water conditions: they may change quickly. This weekend, rivers and streams may be high and running swifter than normal. Boating and swimming on these waters poses a danger to those who are not the best of swimmers.