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Heading out boating? Make sure you have what you need before you go

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Every Memorial Day weekend the Valley's lakes and rivers are full of boaters. Before you head out, think about some of the things in your boat that you need that are required, or what you might need in case of an emergency.

Every boat owner should know the rules and regulations operating it depending on where they are. But, some things that need to be, or should be, on a boat can be overlooked or forgotten.

"First and foremost, your life jacket. It's the most important piece of equipment that you're going to have is your life jacket," Guntersville Rescue Squad Public Relations Officer C.J. Jones said, "You should have enough life jackets for everybody who is on the boat and one or two extra in case they malfunction."

Jones added that working lights are required.

You also need to have:

  • A throwable flotation aid that is immediately available
  • Working fire extinguishers and horn
  • A noisemaker, like a whistle
  • Visual distress signals
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Maps

Also, keep in mind some areas on a lake or river don't have cell service.

"Just be aware of the weather. We get a lot of calls when weather blows up and it comes up suddenly. Make sure that you've got more than one device to monitor the weather, that way  you're not relying on one and wear the battery down, and then you're in trouble," Jones said.

Here are more resources:

Boating Safety Guide

Boating Equipment Checklist