The majority of accidents on lakes and rivers are caused by the same errors. Here are a few safety tips to keep you safer on the water:
1. Wear a life jacket. Remember that Utah law requires you to have a life jacket for all occupants of a boat – which includes an inner tube floating Provo River. Especially if there’s any chance of falling into the water, wear it! If you don’t wear it, at least make sure it’s readily accessible.
2. Slow down within 150′ of other boats. Utah law requires slow, wakeless speed when boats are within 150′. This includes personal watercraft.
3. Dress appropriately. Heat can escape from your body 25 times faster when you’re wet. Cold water quickly saps your strength and cramps your muscles. You may not be able to swim nearly as far as you think.
4. Don’t panic. If you didn’t wear your life jacket and have to swim and if you get out of breath (swimming uses different muscles than other activities and even if you’re in good shape, you can quickly get out of breath), then float on your back or use a relaxing stroke. Think this through beforehand to help you remember before panic sets in.
You should also recognize that while Utah Lake often appears calm, high winds can appear suddenly and whip up big waves. Make sure your boat is safe, check the weather, or remain safely near shore.