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Officials offer tips to keep you afloat this summer

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Staying Afloat boat boating water safety

RIB MOUNTAIN, Wis. (WAOW)-- Whether you plan to be on a boat this summer for some fast fun or a leisurely hangout, first responders want to make sure all boaters are prepared before heading to the water.

Especially in light of one group getting stuck at Bluegill Bay County Park in Rib Mountain on Saturday night.

Crews were called to bring them to shore after their engine stalled.

One official says, anything under the hood should be checked before you even get to the landing.

"Check the batteries and the battery system, make sure that's okay. If you're comfortable doing a tune-up yourself, then do that. Otherwise, take it in and have it done," South Area Fire and Emergency Services Battalion Chief Evan McBain said.

Once you're at the landing, he says having the right protection inside the boat is also key.

"Life jackets are the biggest thing. The number one cause of boating accident fatalities is drowning. It's not being actually injured in a boating crash," McBain said.

All boats need to have at least one life jacket per person on board and, in some cases, they must be worn.

Any larger sized boats need what's called a throwable personal flotation device to bring anyone back into the boat.

If you do get stuck or need help, "Stay with your boat, or even if it capsizes, you should also stay with your boat as much as you can or if you can. If you see another passing boat, wave your arms and try to get their attention," McBain said.

Even if you don't plan on being out into the evening hours, he adds being easier to see makes it easier to get help.

"The lights on your boat, check to make sure they work even if you're not planning on being gone past dark. Things happen, and you might end up needing them," McBain said.

He also says while first aid kits are not required on boats, they are recommended.

Isak Dinesen

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