Hit the Lake

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to the summer season on Lake Tahoe.
It's also when the most boating accidents occur, even though most could be prevented.
The Coast Guard says there will be hundreds of boats on the lake this weekend, but the increased boat traffic mixed with the holiday mood can lead to disaster for some.
But, Petty Officer Mike Faivre says preparation and common sense can ensure a fun trip.
Life jackets are required for every person on board, but you want to make sure the jacket fits before you hit the water that is averaging a temperature of about 50-degrees.
"How much weight does this life jacket take and hold. There's a bouncy for how much it holds. So, if you go to your local maritime stores, they should have someone knowledgeable enough to fit you into the correct size."
Jack Leth, a volunteer with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, says boaters don't realize that falling in the water can be deadly without a life jacket.
"When they go in, the initial shock of hypothermia or cold water shock, they lose their ability to swim in about two to three minutes. Without a life jacket, they obviously are unable to swim."
If you are in the water, Officer Faivre says, you can also be putting yourself in one of the most dangerous spots in a lake: behind the boat.
"The majority of recreational mishaps that happen on this lake are wake boarding, skiing... water skiing and slalom, so they've got to be aware of that. There might be a person behind the boat that they're going close to."
Everyone agrees, your time on the water can be great as long as you plan and think ahead.
The coast guard does offer free boat inspections to ensure you won't run into problems on the water.
And you can also take a boating class for even more experience.
You can get a list of boating safety tips by logging onto our web site, kolotv.com, then clinking on the link for "wildlife" report, for the "boat-Nevada" page.


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