Officials stress water safety ahead of the start of boating season

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FRANKLIN CO., Ohio (WCMH) — Memorial Day is the unofficial start to boating season, and officials are stressing the importance of water safety. 

A lieutenant with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said people need to have a plan before they rush to get their boats in the water. 

“Just knowing your skill level, knowing where you’re boating, don’t boat by yourself, and safety equipment, always have your life jacket on,” said Dawn Roberts with ODNR. 

Life jackets may have saved the lives of two kayakers, who the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, along with other agencies, rescued unharmed Sunday. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said both kayaks capsized in the fast-moving water at the Big Darby Creek.

Lieutenant Roberts said because of the rapids and knowing your skill level goes a long way. 

“Sometimes just the characteristics of the river after a storm looks fun,” said Roberts. “You see the rapids, it’s going over the rocks, and you’re like wow I would really like to take my kayak on that because I’m normally just kind of floating down touring, but it does take a little more experience.”

She said it’s important to remember to always have a plan and life jackets and to know your equipment.

Roberts added one final thing:

“We would love for you to file a float plan with someone and it doesn’t have to be an official float plan. It’s merely just a hey, I’m leaving at this time, this is what my boat looks like, these are my boat numbers, this is what I was wearing, I’m putting in here, and I’m taking out here. That way if a loved one calls and says hey my loved one isn’t back yet, they have some information for us.”

It is also a good idea to have a dry bag or a ziplock bag to protect your valuables, especially your phone, from getting wet. 

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