HELENA - Nearby lakes might still be covered with ice but it won’t be long before it’s all melted and boating season returns.
Marinas and boat shops encourage owners to take time in the coming weeks to make sure they’re ready to get out on the water.
David Luther of One Way Marine said owners should make sure the boat’s battery is charged and start up their engine at home to avoid any embarrassment when blowing out fogging oil.
Boaters are required by law to have a fire extinguisher, throwable personal flotation device, and a lifejacket for every person on the vessel.
Luther said that if you have kids, it is good to check their lifejackets since kids grow each year.
“If you have kids making sure that you have lifejackets that fit is very important and that they’re properly adjusted as well,” Luther said.
Luther suggested people inspect their fire extinguishers to make sure they’re still good since boat fires can be very dangerous and engulf the entire vessel.
“If you have a fire on your boat it will burn your boat down to the water,” Luther said.
A full boating checklist can be found online on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) website.
Luther has worked with FWP for the invasive mussel threat at Canyon Ferry Reservoir. He’s led classes that help inform people about properly cleaning boat systems and preventing contamination.
“A big thing is drain your boat, pull the drain plug, and wipe the boat when you’re done,” Luther said. “If it’s wet, the mussels can transport.”
Certified boater training for the invasive mussel threat at Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs can be done online this year through FWP.