Law enforcement looking out for boaters not meeting safety stand - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Law enforcement looking out for boaters not meeting safety standards

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Law enforcement boats will be out this weekend keeping a watch on boaters and there are some things you need to have on board that many people often forget. That can be a pricey mistake.

Sheriff's boats will be keeping an eye out for boaters driving under the influence, but they're also looking to see if boaters have all the required safety equipment on board.

If you don't, the tickets start at eighty-seven dollars and go up from there, to more than two hundred fifty dollars.

The key items you need to have are life jackets, a throwable personal floatation device, a fire extinguisher and flares.

Many don't realize just how important flares can be in a crisis situation.

"I've been out looking for people late at night trying to find them when they call in with an emergency. And I drive circles around them trying to find them in those wide areas and I can't. If they had a flare, I'd find them immediately," says Deputy Tom Morton, Benton County.

Life jackets are required to be worn by children under the age of 12 that aren't in an enclosed cabin and by all passengers on a boat under nineteen feet. Passengers on a boat bigger than that aren't required to wear them, but they must be available on board.

Deputy Morton tells me safety is their number one concern and citing people for not meeting safety requirements is just as important as citing them for BUIs.