Water Safety Tips

With the weather finally warming up after a long winter, people are flocking to the lakes to boat, fish and swim.  Have fun and be safe!  Remember, wearing a life jacket is the single best way to stay safe on the lakes.


  • Always wear a life jacket.  North Carolina law requires children under 13 to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.  Wearing a life jacket is the most fundamental way to stay safe.
  • Watch for severe weather.  Never go boating during storms.  Do not get in the water if you see lightning.
  • Avoid alcohol.  Alcohol impairs judgment and is a contributing factor in about one in five boating fatalities.  Do not swim if you have been drinking.
  • Review the NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s “Boating Checklist” to make sure you have the necessary equipment on board and operating correctly.  You can view the checklist online at: www.ncwildlife.org.  Get a free safety inspection from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.
  • Take a free boating educating course from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.  Courses are required for boat operators under 26 years old.
  • Use the Buddy System.  Avoid boating alone.  If you are alone, make sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Have An Emergency Plan.  Make sure you have a working marine radio and a charged mobile phone so you can call for help in an emergency.
  • Do Not Overload the Boat.  Boats that are weighted down are more likely to tip over.
  • Be Careful Near Dams. Stay a safe distance from dams.  Do not go past the warning signs and buoys located above and below the dams.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Stay in designated swim areas.
  • Always keep a close eye on children and inexperienced swimmers.  These swimmers should always wear a life jacket.


For More Information

Visit these links for more information about boating safety: