Montana boating safety stressed as holiday weekend arrives

Posted at 5:32 PM, May 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-26 19:32:13-04

GREAT FALLS – National Boating Safety week ended on Friday and with the Memorial Day holiday weekend right behind it, many people will be spending time with friends and family on the water.

With the water levels being so high, it’s making boating conditions even more challenging, which is why Cascade County Sheriff’s deputies want to make sure people are over-prepared for their boating fun.

“Just make sure your boat is as safe as possible,” said Jay Groskreutz, a deputy with Cascade County Sheriff’s Office.

Safety is their top priority, which means watching the alcohol intake.

“We understand people get out on the boat and they want to enjoy themselves, but moderation is key and not understands it is against the law to be intoxicated when you’re operating a boat.”

Which is one of the main factors in boating accidents.

“It seems like every year we have a few accidents on the river. We have some drownings and they’re alcohol-related and they could be prevented if people paid attention to what their limitations are and where they’re at.”

He recommends to also check to make sure your boat is ready to for the water. He added if you don’t know how to check your boat, many professionals around town can.

“You know, a lot of people, they winterize their boat, they fill it up with gas and they run out to the water. They don’t do any types of checks or anything and they get out and they get into trouble.”

Also have as many lifejackets on board for each person that will be on the boat, especially right now.

“I cannot stress them enough when people are floating the river. I know it’s nice to float the river without a lifejacket but the currents, the undertows, there’s so much debris in the river right now, you just need to be prepared and be safe when you’re out on the water.”

Children under 12 must be wearing lifejackets if the boat is in motion.

Groskreutz said they’ve been fairly busy already this year and he’s not expecting it to slow down anytime soon.

“With the high water that we have right now and the way the temperatures are warming up, I do suspect that we’re going to have a higher than average call for water-type situations in the next few weeks.”

Click here for more water-safety information at the MT FWP website.

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