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DNR: Be safe on the water this holiday weekend, wear a life jacket

(FILE)
(FILE)(Associated Press)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 12:10 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -During the Fourth of July weekend, people will be heading to area lakes, rivers, and waterways.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reminding everyone to be ready for the unexpected and wear a life jacket.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 79-percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned, and majority of those did not wear life jackets.

The DNR has the following reminders:

  • All vessels (including canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards) must have at least one USCG-approved wearable life jacket for each person on board.
  • All vessels 16 feet or more in length must have one USCG-approved throwable personal flotation device on board that is immediately accessible.
  • Every person on board a personal watercraft must wear a USCG-approved life jacket.
  • Sailboarders and windsurfers are exempt from the life jacket requirement but are highly encouraged to wear one.
  • Federal law requires children under the age of 13 to wear a USCG-approved life jacket while underway in an open vessel on federally controlled waters.

All life jackets must be:

  • In good and serviceable condition, which means no tears, rips, broken straps or snaps;
  • Readily accessible, which means you can put the life jacket on quickly in an emergency; and
  • Of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for life jackets is based on body weight and chest size.

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