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   As summer winds down with the Labor Day Weekend, many of us will enjoy this last Hoorah by visiting one of our many local lakes.  All well and good. . .but anything involving a boat, and water, can invite needless tragedy.  Don't be a statistic!  Practice boating safety; those on board, other boaters, and park officials, will appreciate it!

*Lifejackets are a must!  You might be a first-class swimmer, but if your boat capsizes in the middle of a huge lake, even the best swimmers can tire and go under.  Keep that lifejacket on; for children, lifejackets are mandatory. 

*You've heard it a million times, but it bears repeating:  Alcohol and boating do not mix!  Buzz boating is the leading cause of accidents.  Save the celebrating for after you come off the water; or, if you INSIST on having some adult beverages, designate a responsible adult to be your safe driver. 

*Most lakes are clearly marked where the designated swimming areas are.  Stay away from them!  And never recklessly drive near them, leaving a dangerous wake that could endanger those in the water.

*Know your boat's seating capacity; NEVER exceed it! 

*Speaking of beverages, have plenty of fresh water on board, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

*That sun, on the water, can be deceiving.  It takes only a handful of seconds to succumb to heat exhaustion or heat stroke; accordingly, come in out of the sun early and often.  Don't stay on the water for hours and hours. 

*Avoid ski racing!  You might be inherently competitive, but to race another boat pulling skiers endangers the skiers, along with everyone on board both boats.  Bragging rights mean nothing if tragedy ensues.

Have a happy. . .and SAFE. . .holiday weekend!
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