Floaters could be ticketed for lack of equipment - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Floaters could be ticketed for lack of equipment

Posted: Updated:

KENNEWICK, Wash. - With temperatures in the 90's many of us are looking for ways to cool off. However, if you don't own a pool or a boat, you could try floating down the Yakima or Columbia Rivers.

But there are some rules you may not be aware of. According to the Benton County Sheriff's Office, if you're floating in a raft, which is defined as a vessel, meaning it's used for transportation across the water, you need to have a life jacket for each person on board and a sound producing device. Just like if you were on a boat.

People floating in tubes can get around that, but only if they're accompanied by a raft.

"Anytime someone's on an inner tube or an air mattress or one of those pool toys, they're considered a swimmer," said Benton County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Morton. "They're not permitted to be more than 100 feet from shore unless they're accompanied by a boat that is defined as a vessel."

Deputy Morton said the Benton County Sheriff's Office has only issued a few tickets so far this summer for floating violations. A citation for floating without a life jacket or whistle will cost you $87.