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      Having a lifejacket within reach could save your life this weekend

      This weekend also marks the unofficial start to boating season.

      River r angers with the Army Corps of Engineers wants to remind boat owners of safety tips they should follow.

      Brent Groesch and Jordan Hagerty are gearing up for the weekend.

      They know that there's going to be plenty of boaters out on the river.

      They want to make sure those boat owners have a safe weekend and don't just become a statistic.

      "Well some of the most important items have to be your lights, navigation lights. Your red and green and your anchor light, just in case you do happen to stay out at night. Also a horn or a whistle. They're important items as well, just in case you're in some kind of distress, but also the most important of all things has got to be the life jacket," Hagerty said.

      In 2012, 651 people across the U.S. died in boating accidents and there were about 3,000 people who were injured.

      Hagerty said the overloading of a boat and not having life jackets that are easily accessible are two of the big reasons there are boating fatalities.

      "You have to have life jackets, if you don't you're going to be in a lot of trouble," Hagerty said.

      Hagerty also said if people do make the choice to go out on the river this weekend, to be on the lookout for flood debris and changes in the river. He added the Mississippi is running at what the Corps of Engineers call open river conditions, which means the gates on the locks are wide open.

      That can present a challenge to boaters and he wants to make sure everyone has a safe Memorial Day weekend.

      Also the Corps of Engineer Rangers are offering a free vessel inspection service on Saturday along the Quincy riverfront.

      It will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kesler Park boat ramps.