By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian
During the summer, hundreds of Marion County residents take to the water, whether it be the Tygart River or a nearby lake.
Knowing proper boat safety and boating laws can save a life.
Sgt. Robert Waybright with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) police said boating safety and knowing the laws can go a long way on the water.
The first safety step of boating is familiarizing yourself with the boat before it is taken on the water.
“We’ve had people launch their boats and not have the plug in the boat, and it sinks right at the dock,” he said.
Waybright said owners of Jet Skis or personal watercrafts like canoes and kayaks should also know how the craft works.
“Some people will get out there and hurt themselves or hurt somebody else,” he said. “Our thing is that it’s all about safety.”
Once the boat or watercraft is in the water, boaters must know how many people are allowed to ride in the craft. Waybright said bigger boats like pontoon boats have the capacity to hold more people, while smaller boats only have room for a few.
“Each boat has a capacity plate, and on that capacity plate it will tell you number of persons and/or weight,” he said.
Even if the boat is towing people behind the boat on a tube, water ski or knee board, those people count toward the capacity of the craft.