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As Temps Warm, Many Boaters Are Hitting Local Waterways

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Calaveras County, CA – With temperatures warming up, many boaters head to Mother Lode waterways to enjoy the cool waters.

Tasked with patrolling the waterways of Calaveras County is the sheriff’s marine safety division, which is staffed year-round. With an emphasis on safety and boater education, the team ensures that boating rules and regulations are followed.

“With a population of roughly 47,000 people in Calaveras County and an increasing amount of tourist boating traffic, the summer boat patrol period is busy with the enforcement of laws, the investigation of accidents, and rescue operations,” according to sheriff’s officials.

Boaters are asked to remember these Department of Boating and Waterways tips on operating or enjoying water activities:

Take a safe boating course and get your California Boater Card

  • Even the most experienced boaters can learn from boating safety courses.
  • As of Jan. 1, 2021, all operators of motorized vessels on California waterways who are 40 years of age and younger are required to carry a lifetime boater card. By 2025, all operators of motorized vessels will be required to carry one, regardless of age.

Conduct a vessel check

  • Make sure you have the right safety equipment on board your boat, such as life jackets, flares, navigation lights, a horn or whistle, and a first aid kit.
  • Click here to download the virtual safety check form or to schedule a vessel safety check. File a Float Plan: Email or text a float plan to a loved one or friend with details of your trip in the event of an emergency.
  • Check the weather
  • Know the latest weather forecast prior to going out, and check regularly for changing conditions.

Wear a life jacket

  • Everyone should wear a properly fitted US. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when in or near the water. You never know when an accident may happen, and a life jacket can help save you until search and rescue help can arrive.
  • In swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed. By the time a person is struggling in the water, a rescue is extremely unlikely and places the rescuer at risk.

Avoid Alcohol

  • Do not drink or boat. Alcohol continues to be the leading known contributing factor in recreational boating deaths in the United States.
  • It is against the law in California to operate a boat or water ski with a blood concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more. Officers may arrest boaters with a BAC of less than 0.08% if conditions are deemed unsafe.
  • BUI convictions can result in up to six months in jail and/or fines of up to $1,000. Two convictions within seven years could add a jail term of up to one year. Boaters caught operating under the influence may also have their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded.

ACTIVELY Supervise Children

  • Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. Do not assume that someone is watching them.
  • Appoint a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults.
  • Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool; they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow, and changing weather.

Stow it, don’t throw it

  • Keep your trash on board. Never throw garbage into waterways. Take advantage of shore-side facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal, and paper.
  • Used fishing line can be deposited at fishing line recycling stations.

Download helpful boating applications on your phone. The Boat CA App is a free mobile app that shows you boating facilities, life jacket loan stations, laws, boat registration, and more. For more water safety information, including boating laws, please click here.

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