Beaver Lake, AR – With the temperature warming up, more and more boaters will be taking to local waterways, and Beaver Lake officials are making it their mission to make safety sense common sense.

Coast Guard Auxiliary Emphasize Boating Safety On Beaver Lake

Friday was the start of National Safe Boating Week, and law enforcement focused on educating the public about safety on the water. The Coast Guard Auxiliary on Beaver Lake is at the forefront of that mission in Northwest Arkansas.

Friday, hundreds of anglers in the FLW Tour tournament are casting their lines and speeding across Beaver Lake, but with Memorial Day just a week away, the professionals will soon be replaced with people boating for pleasure.

Alan Main and Keith Burt are two of 29 volunteers with the Coast Guard Auxiliary who patrol Beaver Lake with safety in mind.

“We’ve seen a lot of things on this lake. Usually it involves people not thinking: People sitting on a pontoon boat with their legs dangling, or people sitting on the side of the boat while it’s moving. It’s extremely dangerous,” Main said.

All boats must have a life jacket for everyone on board, and for anyone in a boating accident, having that live jacket on will likely save his life, officials said.

According to a Coast Guard study, 90 percent of people who die in a boating accident were not wearing a life jacket.

Also be concerned about carbon monoxide on the water. For people skiing or wake boarding, hanging out too close to the motor can be deadly, officials said.

Just like on the road, alcohol is the leading cause of death on the water, and just like on the highway, a designated driver can save lives.

According to a Coast Guard study, 688 people died in boating accidents nationwide in 2007. Three-fourths of those people had no boating safety training.

In Arkansas, boaters have to have to take a course if they were born after 1985.