(UNDATED) - Memorial Day weekend is considered the unofficial kickoff to the boating season around northeast Indiana lakes. While they want you to have fun, Indiana Conservation Officers are encouraging boaters to follow state laws. They also offer the following safety tips:
* Always wear your life jacket.
* Never sit on the gunwale (sides) or ride on the bow decking of a motorboat while in motion.
* Never tow a skier or tuber without an observer.
* Pay attention to marker buoys and idle zone restricted areas.
* If over 21, consume alcoholic beverages in moderation (0.08 is the legal limit).
* Use navigational lights and anchor lights between sunset and sunrise. Obey the night time speed limit of 10 mph on all inland lakes.
Indiana had 58 open water drownings last year. Conservation Officers say many were preventable if a life jacket was worn. Lt. Kenton Turner says accidents can happen too fast to reach and put on a life jacket that is stowed away.
If you see boating violations or are in need of assistance from a Conservation Officer, call (812) 837-9536 to reach any officer in the state.