GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) With temperatures predicted near 80 and fireworks at Celebrate De Pere, hundreds of boaters are expected on the water this holiday weekend in Brown County. And local law enforcement hopes everyone follows the rules of safe boating.
At South Bay Marina the Green Bay Police Department’s Marine Unit prepares their boat for the weekend ahead. Getting it ready to keep watch over the hundreds launching their vessels for the first time this year.
“With the Memorial Day weekend, we anticipate a lot of boaters out, patrolling the river, out enjoying Longtail and we want people to be safe doing so,” said Capt. Kevin Warych.
Warych says this weekend boaters will be out in force, drawn by warm weather. But before they launch boat owners need to check their vessel, know their limits and have a plan.
“They need to take some extra minutes, make sure they have safety equipment on the vessel, make sure they know where they are going, other people know where they are going and make sure people going with them are watching out for one another,” Warych said.
According to the Wisconsin DNR operator inexperience, alcohol use and operator inattention were the leading causes of boating crashes in 2017. Twenty-five people died and 15 of those weren’t wearing a life jacket.
“We just want everyone to go out, enjoy their time, be safe and make sure you come home every night,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Brett Heary of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Heary says while the forecast calls for high 70s, water temperatures remain very cold. A life jacket could save your life.
“If you’re able to float with a life jacket in the water and the water temp is 56 to 60 degrees – it’s going to increase your survivability substantially,” said Heary.
And Warych says if you’re bringing along alcohol, have a designated driver. Boating under the influence is against the law.
In 2017 there were roughly 625,000 boats registered in Wisconsin.