ELKHART — The Elkhart Police Department’s River Patrol unit has issued rules and safety tips to help boaters stay safe in the lead-up to July 4.
Be aware of the capacity limits of your vessel. You can find this number on a plate near the steering wheel. Your vessel must come with life vests for all passengers. Vessels that are 16 feet or longer must have one United States Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on board.
If you are taking part in the July 4 flotilla “Light the Night” event, be sure to check your lights are in working order before you leave the dock. All boats must have red and green side lights that are visible to any vessel approaching from the side or head on. Power-driven vessels under 39.4 feet long must carry a white stern light that is visible 360 degrees around the vessel. Docking lights on the front of pontoons should only be used when docking and not while the vessel is moving. If you do not have proper working lights you’ll be told to return to the dock or risk a citation.
No vessel can be operated at 10 or more miles per hour between sunset and sunrise.
Finally, don’t drink and boat. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs carries the same penalties as driving while intoxicated.
For more information visit www.riverpatrol.org.