“Don’t underestimate it,” officer gives safety tips for boating this holiday weekend

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HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer. With the warmer weather in the area, officials expect people on the waterways in the area this weekend.

"We are thrilled when people come to the outdoors, whether it will be fishing or boating," Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Conservation Officer David Hurst said.

He said, he wants people to enjoy the waters in the area, but safety needs to be a priority. We traveled out on the Susquehanna River on Tuesday to go over safety tips.

"When you're in a boating accident, after the boat comes to a stop, you're going to sink or go downstream," Hurst said.

He said about 80% of people who die each year in Pennsylvania are not wearing their life jackets.

"I've always been boating," Hurst said. "I'm very familiar with the river. I don't take it for granted and don't underestimate it."

According to Hurst, you should check the life jacket on a child. You should have them put their arms straight up, if the jacket slides right off, it needs to be made tighter.

One hazard we passed, was a low-head dam. When we passed we saw  debris struggling to stay afloat in the water.

"You could get in the hydraulic and if you don't get caught, you could drop five to six feet to the river below," Hurst said.

The area is marked off telling people to not go beyond a certain line for their safety.

Just like driving a car, the legal limit for alcohol is .08. Hurst said you should be avoiding drinking and boating as well.

"Things can go bad really quick and you need to have every asset and faculty of your body available to solve the problem," he said.

Hurst said the outdoors should be enjoyed. To be safe its as simple as just being alert to what's going on around you, wearing your life jacket, and limiting drinking.