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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

MSHP Cautions Dock Owners, Boat Operators

Warmer temperatures mean spring is on the way and with it comes more opportunities to enjoy Missouri's lakes and rivers. To ensure everyone's safety, the Missouri State Highway Patrol stresses the importance of being aware and courteous while boating.

This winter's ice and heavy snow combinations have caused damage to some boat docks. Dock owners should wear life jackets when assessing and repairing damaged docks. Using the buddy system means someone is there to assist you if you end up in the water. Remember that damaged electric wires around docks should be treated as if they are live. Ameren guidelines recommend monthly ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) testing of electric equipment and bonding wires. This includes both the dock and the power supply to the dock being inspected regularly by a qualified electrician.

Remember: If you feel a shock, swim away from the dock.

Any boats operating in areas where dock damage has occurred are encouraged to operate at no wake idle speed. This prevents further damage and increases safety for those working on the docks.

After a long winter, it is important to make sure your boat is ready to launch! Check to see that you have all the necessary equipment, and thoroughly inspect your vessel for fuel and water leaks before you head out on the water. Going through your equipment checklist is a must, and life jackets should be at the top of the list! Life jackets must be worn or readily accessible to be compliant with state law. Wearing your life jacket is always the safer bet.

Troopers encourage everyone to remain vigilant around water. If you are on or near the water and an emergency occurs, call *55 on your cellular phone to reach the nearest troop headquarters. Marine enforcement troopers and emergency response services will respond. Be smart. Be safe. Stay healthy.

Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear It!!