Going boating this summer? It’s recommended to have a life jacket for everyone

Hampshire County

Fourth of July marks the unofficial start of boating season in western Massachusetts.

Safety is vital when it comes to boating, but being familiar with the waters you’re navigating is also very important. 

Hundreds of boaters will be exploring Connecticut River, this holiday weekend.  

“The biggest problem is the lack of metropolitan police on this river on the weekend,” said Jim Dion of Wilbraham.

In order to enjoy the longest river in New England, you’ll want to tell someone on dry land where you’ll be.

“Goes and tells someone like a float plan, as far as, what you’re doing on the river, who you’re going out with, just so you know, in case anything does happen,” said James Brunelle of Captain Lady B in South Hadley.

Make sure your boat is maintained and in good working condition. 

As a boater owner, it is your responsibility to make sure everyone aboard your vessel is safe, and you can do that by knowing the open waters.

Have a life jacket for every passenger aboard. The law requires anyone under the age of 12 to wear a life jacket on a boat.

“The drinking and the speed, which are the two most dangerous things,” said Bob Spaulding of East Springfield.

If you’re caught operating under the influence of alcohol on the water, you could be cited, possibly arrested, have your driver’s license and vessel’s registration revoked for up to one year.

“There are some weekends there is no police on this river and then occasionally, there is one boat,” Dion told 22News. “But when he is on one end of the river, the ones that want to have excessive fun, shall we call it, they are on the other end of the river.”

When a boat and jet ski encounter each other head-on, both vessels should keep right. But if a jet ski encounters a sailboat, the jet ski has to give way and avoid the slower-moving craft. 

Seventy percent of reported boating accidents are caused by human error: not paying attention, inexperience, and speeding.

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