PA Fish & Boat Commission reminding boaters of the essentials as season nears

Summer is just around the corner and officers from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) are reminding boaters that it’s better safe than sorry.

From November 1 through April 30, it’s required to wear a life jacket on canoes, kayaks and any boat under 16 feet, this is in response to their cold water law.

In the winter, cold water shock causes involuntary gasp, hyperventilation, breathlessness and a reduced ability to control swimming if you were to fall in. This time of year, the law switched back to normal now that the weather is warmer.

Kids 12 and under on boats 20 feet and under have to wear a life jacket while underway. A regular life jacket is required for all civilians on board and must be readily assessable, but they do not have to wear them.

A waterways conservation officer from the PFBC also reminded us of other things to check before going out on the water for the first time this season.

“This early in the year one of the biggest things we see are registration tickets, the decals. People get their boat out of a barn; uncover it and they have the sticker sitting at home. We’ll see a 23 which is currently expired So, we’ll pull them over. It’s registered, but they have the stickers at home or they forgot to put them on,” said Matt Visosky, waterways conservation officer for the PFBC.

Visosky also reminds boaters that people are not allowed to ride on the bow of the boat and it’s important to boat sober.

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