Many Expected To Take To The Water This Weekend

Memorial Day Marks The Unofficial Start Of Boating Season

Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the boating season in Pittsburgh.  Michael Johnson with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission expects a lot of people to launch their boats this weekend.

Johnson tells the KDKA Radio Morning News it’s important to take boating safety as seriously as automobile safety.

The most common mistake Johnson sees is lack of safety equipment, “in particular having life jackets, having properly fitting life jackets for all their passengers."

 A law passed 4 to 5 years ago requires all people have to be in a seated area while the boat is moving. Johnson says they have had incidence where someone has fallen from the boat and, in some cases, have died.

Those operating a boat or Jet Ski need to have a boater safety card, which is basically a driver’s license for a boater.

Johnson says the boater safety card does not cover the whole boat; each person operating the boat must have a safety card.

Laws for alcohol on the river are similar to driving law with a few exceptions.

“Certain things are relaxed on the water. You are allowed to have open containers on the watercraft and the operator is not prohibited from consuming alcohol on the boat,” said Johnson.

Boaters can be arrested while operating a boat above a .08 percent blood alcohol level but, “you don’t necessarily have to rise to a .08 . . . if you are involved in an accident or otherwise show the inability to operate safely, you are still subject to arrest and we are very proactive when it comes to boating under the influence.”

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