Wildlife officials offer safety tips ahead of busy boating season


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY)– Boaters beware, the season is just weeks away.
Last year was one of the deadliest for boaters across the state.

The Wildlife Resource Commission is sharing with us the do’s and don’ts on the water.

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“There’s no real way to measure how many boaters use this ramp, but I would say that it’s over thousands,” said wildlife officer Murphy Hall with the backdrop of the Wrightsville Beach boat ramp.

WWAY’s Andrew James hit the water with Officer Hall.The commission issued a notice this week to spread awareness ahead of the boating season.

“With more boats on the water and more people enjoying North Carolina’s waters, we’re just going to have more people out there with a greater risk for boating incidents,” said Hall.

Last year, the commission saw 35 fatalities on the water statewide. The commission said that was the highest amount of deaths they’ve seen in nearly 30 years.

It just proves a day of leisure on the water can turn life threatening.

“Boating incidents happen fast on the water, and if you’re not prepared, you could find yourself in the water without a life jacket on,” said Hall.

That’s because out of the 35 deaths last year on the open water, 29 deaths involved boaters not wearing a life vest.

“We just encourage everyone to where one if they can,” said Hall.

Before you hit the water and before the height of boating season hits, Murphy wants to make sure that check list is complete.

“Boat numbering, boat registrations, a life jacket per person a type 4 throw cushion and a fire extinguisher,” said Hall.

Officer Hall says the commission holds pre-launch checks often in the summer season. You can learn more at ncwildlife.org.