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Hot summer tips to stay safe on the water

Getting out on the water is a welcome retreat from our scorching heat, but don’t be a Gilligan this summer when you set sail on your SS Minnow, whether it’s a boat, canoe or jetski. The Butte County Sheriff’s Marine Unit tells us that the four leading causes of boat accidents are operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness and speeding, while the leading cause of death while boating is drowning. Follow these tips when enjoying our beautiful lakes and rivers:

• Wear a life jacket. Children younger than 13 are required by law to wear life jackets, and you should have one on board for every person. This goes for canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards, too.

• Alcohol and boating do not mix. Drunken sailors are the leading cause of boating deaths.

• Take a boating safety course. Many online courses teach safety basics and navigational rules.

• Obey the captain. He or she is responsible for your safety onboard.

• Prepare in advance. Make sure your boat runs and operates safely before leaving home.

Source: Butte County Sheriff’s Office