Indiana DNR urges boating safety as unofficial start to summer passes

Indiana DNR urges boating safety as unofficial start to summer passes

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Memorial Day weekend brought plenty of summer-like weather with it.

With the unofficial start to summer, many boats will soon be out on the waters and conservation officers want to make sure you're safe.

The Ohio River is usually a popular place this holiday weekend, but water levels are so high that the ramp and parking areas at Dress Plaza in Evansville are flooded. Plus, our news crews spotted plenty of floating debris. But, people found other places to wet a line.

Despite some COVID-19 related restrictions, Indiana's Blue Grass Fish and Wildlife Area was among the more popular places for families this Memorial Day.

"Being stuck in the house, the virus, everybody having to be separated, and everything slowing down, and not much to do; so, everybody is exploring and trying to find things to do," Tiffany Kemper said.

The Indiana Department for Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife division, is still encouraging people to keep a safe distance away from others while enjoying everything these outdoor areas have to offer.

"Relaxing, it's very serene,” Kemper added. “It's definitely a time to take to and reflect and breathe and enjoy."

We found many people out on the water including kayakers and fisherman.

In Indiana it is law that a wearable life jacket be in the boat for each person on board, which is an issue conservation officers have cited over the holiday weekend.

“I think sometimes they just forget to put life jackets in their boat; for the most part, that’s usually the case,” DNR Conservation Officer Ryan McIntyre explained.”

Just like with cars, officers have also been checking for sober boat operators.

It’s not only on the lakes; DNR also patrols the river.

In Henderson, the boat docks were pulled out to the parking lot likely because of the high water levels. But all the floating debris didn’t keep a few boats off the river.

Lake Barkley, another big boating spot for those in the Tri-State, put out some recommendations on how to boat safely to prevent spreading COVID such as only boating with those in your immediate household.

Social distancing when boating
Social distancing when boating (Source: wfie)

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