Boating safely in high water

Photo Credit: Photo by: Chad Douglas

This weekend is one of the most popular weekends to go boating.

With high water levels in the area, boating this weekend will be a little different.

KHQA road along with a Missouri State Water Patrol officer today at Mark Twain Lake to find out why.

"Being on the water is different than being on the road. You don't have lanes to be in, so boats can come from all different directions," says Steve Peterson with the Missouri Water Patrol.

That's the case no matter when you boat. But with high water in the area, there are other things to watch for, the main thing being debris in the water.

"Unfortunately, you can see about anything. Tires, refrigerators, logs, stumps, and trees. Telephone poles are also out there floating around, propane tanks," says Peterson.

The list is truly endless. Keep in mind the waves on the water can hide that debris until it's too late. If you're a seasoned boater, chances are you know all of this. If you're a new boater, or a friend or family member has invited you out this weekend, Officer Peterson says don't be afraid to ask questions.

"No question is a dumb question. The only dump question is the one that's not asked. If you're not comfortable with something, let the people you're with know you're not comfortable with what you're doing on the water," says Peterson.

Officer Peterson also says if you have any questions while on the water, feel free to flag down a water patrol officer. They are there to offer help as well as make sure people follow the laws. Here's something else to keep in mind if you're not used to being on the water.

"It's not like swimming in a swimming pool. The water is deeper than you are tall. Put on a lfie jacket. Don't dive in. There could be a stump or tree top that's been broken off," says Peterson.

Here are a few other tips. Remember, any child under the age of seven has to be in a life jacket at all times. And if you have plans to be on the water to watch fireworks, Officer Peterson says be sure and test your lights before you get on the water. It's a good idea to test them before you go out, so if they don't work you can fix the problem.

There are certain things you are required to have on your boat in the state of Missouri.

They include:

- lifejackets for every single person on your boat.

- a throwable floatation device.

- fire extinguisher.

- a boat longer than 16 feet needs a sound device like a whistle or air horn.

- boating registration.

Also remember it is illegal to shoot any type of fireworks from your boat.