The unofficial kickoff to summer means boaters are hitting the water for the first time this season, and safety patrols are speaking out about potential dangers.
Bill Flanders works alongside 77 other volunteers to patrol Lake Monticello and make sure everyone is staying safe. They watch to make sure boaters are wearing life jackets.
"If you have an accident, and accidents happen, the difference between the accident and death is a life jacket," Flanders said.
Flanders says alcohol makes boating far more dangerous.
"Alcohol does not go in boating, and when you're out boating, the effects of alcohol are emphasized by the sun and the rocking of the boat and the vibration," Flanders said.
He recommends that all those who take to the water - whether they're beginners or experts - have their boats checked and take a boating course at the beginning of the season.
"I was an old-timer, a sailor for 30 years, and the boating course was still good for me because it laid out the principles, the basic iceberg, above all that experience," Flanders said.
To learn about boating courses and the rules of the water in Virginia, visit http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/education/requirement/steps-to-requirement.asp and http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/
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