High water can be dangerous for boaters

PRATT – Boating is a July 4th holiday tradition with many Kansans, and the officials at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks are stressing safety this weekend. Law Enforcement Division assistant director Dan Hesket wants park visitors to enjoy the holiday but emphasizes the need for boaters to use caution.

“Holiday weekends are usually busy with boaters on our lakes, and natural resource officers will be there to enforce boating laws and keep waters safe,” Hesket said. “However, high-water levels at some lakes will require boaters to use extra caution this weekend.”

Hesket warns boaters to watch for the following:

  • Floating debris – Debris such as timber or logs can be difficult to detect. High winds will push the debris to various locations.
  • Muddy water – Rising water levels often increase turbidity. Muddy water can make a floating log or a large rock just under the surface difficult to see.
  • Items that have dislodged because of the rising water -- If campsites are flooded, equipment such as picnic tables can become hazards and may even be washed away from shore.
  • Buoys off mark – Be aware that buoys may have been pulled away from their original anchor. Use caution when boating in unfamiliar waters.

Hesket added that boats must be equipped with an approved personal floatation device (PFD) for each person on board and that PFDs be readily accessible. Persons 12 and younger must wear a PFD while on board or being towed.

For more information on boating safety, click here.