Keeping boaters safe on the water this holiday weekend

Local News
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With good weather and fireworks in the forecast this holiday weekend, thousands of boaters are expected to take to the water in Brown County.  And Local 5’s Kris Schuller says that includes local law enforcement looking to keep everyone safe.

At the South Bay Marina boaters pack their vessels – ahead of the busy holiday weekend.  Many long-time owners who know to stay safe, you need to follow the rules.

“You continually have to watch what you’re doing, you have to be aware of other boaters, you have to watch out for skiers,” said Jim Knippel.

Unfortunately, some boaters forget to play it safe- part of the reason why marine units from both Green Bay Police and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office will be out on the Fox River and Bay of Green Bay – keeping a close eye.

“Any kind of reckless boating, any kind of activity that endangers the safety of others,” said Deputy Greg Steenbock from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

“Have a good time –  but do it safely,” said Capt. Kevin Warych of the Green Bay Police Department.

According to the Wisconsin DNR operator inexperience, recklessness and speeding are three of the main causes of watercraft crashes, with the leading cause of death – drowning.  So far in 2016, 15 people in the state have died in boating related incidents. Deputy Steenbock says wearing a life jacket is a must.

“Please, please, please, wear your life jacket,” said Steenbock. “I’ve never had a water rescue for a patient wearing a life jacket.”

Capt. Warych says alcohol also causes problems and his officers will be watching for anyone operating while intoxicated.

“There are severe consequences if someone chooses to boat under the influence.” Warych said. “They’ll be arrested and the boat towed just like if it was a vehicle.

Because out on the water there can be little room for error. And after the busiest boating weekend of the summer – everyone wants to return home safely.

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