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Wildlife officer offers boating safety reminders

The unofficial beginning of summer means the beginning of boating season.

Darby Enoch, the new N.C. Wildlife officer assigned to Stanly County, has some reminders to make sure people keep safe on the water.

People who were born after Jan. 1, 1988 are required to take an online boating safety course if they want to operate a boat. People can go to ncwildlife.org to take the free online course.

People need to wear life jackets while on the water. Enoch stressed everyone should wear life jackets, but it’s a requirement that people under 13 wear them.

“A life jacket on a boat is like your seat belt in the car,” Enoch said.

If people are swimming, they should either wear life jackets or designate someone to make sure all swimmers are accounted for.

Last year, 35 people died from boating incidents (the highest since 1990) and 29 of them weren’t wearing life jackets, Enoch said.

People should not be swimming behind a boat while it’s running because they could inhale carbon monoxide fumes, which is poisonous.

“Be aware of it and make sure if you’re going to swim, don’t do it at the back of the boat and make sure the engine is cut off,” he said.

Enoch stressed that people should not be impaired while operating a boat. If people want to have a few drinks, they should make sure they have a designated driver, he said.

People go to the lake to have fun, but sometimes they can lose their common sense about staying safe, he said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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