Officials encourage safe and sober boating over holiday weekend

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — With temperatures climbing and many 4th of July traditions canceled, boaters are taking to the water.

“It’s our little, our little relaxation, our little getaway,” Sandy Matthews of Green Bay said as she and her husband Mark prepared to cast off Friday afternoon.

As boats head out, officials with the Coast Guard are asking everyone on the water to be cautious.

“The leading factors of accidents, you know within the top five is alcohol use, also excessive speed, and also the operator’s inattention,” Trevor Black, BM1 for the Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay said.

The Coast Guard will be patrolling the water along with other agencies over the holiday weekend.

They’re hoping to avoid boating accident numbers that were seen in 2019: 82 reported boat incidents, 50 people injured, and nine fatalities across the state.

“The Coast Guard’s out, there’s multiple agencies as well throughout the weekend, just because of the high boating traffic,” Black said. “You can see people’s erratic behavior, excessive speeds, and cutting off other boats, not using the rules of navigation.”

They’ll also be checking for proper safety equipement.

“We do our safety inspections so just going to be running through the gear that you have, a sound-producing device, life jackets for each person,” Black explained.

Wisconsin state law requires children age 12 and under to wear a life jacket at all times while aboard a motorboat.

Black says that’s best practice for anyone aboard a water vessal.

“It’s best to wear a life jacket at all times on the boat because you don’t know when, if there’s an accident waiting to happen,” he said.

Safety measures in place, boaters are ready for a relaxing weekend.

“Just getting out in the sun, and the water’s always gorgeous out there, feels, it’s really warm,” Matthews said.

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