Lake safety council offers boating tips

The Lake of the Ozarks Water Safety Council, a not-for-profit public service organization, is issuing tips for boaters to stay safe through the Labor Day holiday weekend.

"Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the summer season and always brings increased traffic to the lake," said Bob May, council co-chair. "We've had a better than average record of water safety this year and we are urging continued vigilance on the water so we can have a safe end to summer."

Tips for a safe weekend on the water include:

• Know the rules of navigation. If overtaking another boat, the boat being passed has the right-of-way, so stay clear. When meeting head on, keep to the right. If crossing, the boat on the right has the right-of-way; slow and let them pass.

• Don't overload. Always abide by the capacity restrictions for your boat or the boat you have rented. Make sure there is a seat for each passenger. A boat that is not overloaded will handle better, be more fun and avoid a potentially dangerous situation for the driver and passengers.

• Be prepared with your life jackets. Life jackets must be the appropriate type for the user's weight and size. A life jacket must always be worn by anyone on a personal watercraft. Any boat 16 feet long or more must have a readily accessible and appropriate jacket for each occupant and a throwable flotation device. In Missouri, children under age 7 must always wear a life jacket while boating.

• Be a sober boater. Operating a boat while under the influence is against the law in Missouri, and any boat operator found with a blood alcohol concentration above .08 percent can be charged with boating while intoxicated.