Agency offers safety tips for holiday-weekend boating

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Many people flock to area lakes and rivers on Labor Day weekend, during the warmest part of the year. Before you head out on the water this holiday, the Oregon Marine Board offers some boating safety tips.

• Don’t drink and boat. Marine patrol officers will be looking for intoxicated boat operators, who can face hefty times, lose boating privileges and even serve jail time.

• Wear your life jacket. There has to be a properly-fitting life jacket for everyone on board. All children under 12 have to wear one when the boat is under way.

• Sit on available seats — not the swim platform, stern or side of the boat. It’s illegal and unsafe to ride on the bow, decks, gunwales or transforms while a motor boat is underway.

• Slow down in no-wake zones and be courteous of paddler sharing the waterway.