For the next two weekends, an eclectic mix of public and private entities will saturate local venues to promote boating safety before and during Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional kickoff of boating season.
This weekend, boating professionals will set up safety and information displays at Cabela’s in Reno from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The following weekend, local, state and private boating safety personnel will be at Lahontan Reservoir to provide safety information and emergency services. There will also be a life jacket giveaway on Saturday.
“There are many people involved in making boating safer with multiple events to get the word out,” said David Pfiffner, boating law administrator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “We have seen the community rally around the importance of water safety. No one wants to see tragedy as people take to the outdoors this year.”
For the first event, Cabela’s in Reno and the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary are hosting the nationwide “Ready, Set, Wear It” event at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The event was created by the National Safe Boating Council and brings together boating professionals and boaters in attempt to break the record for simultaneous life jacket wear in a single event.
“The National Campaign has really taken off and we love to see the local community care so much,” said Fred Messmann, deputy director of the National Safe Boating Council, who will be attending the Cabela’s event. “We know that life jackets make a huge difference in boating accident survival, and the more people we can tell, the safer boating will be here locally.”
At 9 a.m. on May 26, Lyon County Search and Rescue, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Lyon County Sherriff’s Office, Nevada State Parks and NDOW will spend the weekend at Lahontan Reservoir providing information on a variety of safety issues and clean boating topics, in addition to giving away life jackets. Lyon County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue personnel will properly fit any child who needs one with a brand new life jacket for free. Life jackets are for children 13 years and younger who do not have one and will be handed out at the day-use area on the Silver Springs side of Lahontan (while supplies last). NDOW, Nevada State Parks and other agencies will be on hand to provide information and talk about safe boating practice during the event.
“We had our major fundraiser in April, and we were able to purchase hundreds of life jackets for kids,” said Lt. Brian Veil of Lyon County Sherriff’s Office. “Since we started this project three years ago, we have had no drownings at the lake, but we never take it for granted. We are committed to water safety in our community, and life jackets are at the very heart of this effort.”
Boaters born on or after Jan. 1, 1983 who operate a motorboat of 15 horsepower or more on Nevada’s interstate waters, such as Lake Tahoe and Topaz Lake, are required by law to have a boating education card. Boaters can learn all about course options, get free course books or find open classes at www.ndow.org.