PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Coast Guard has a message for boaters on Pittsburgh’s three rivers this Memorial Day weekend.

Make sure you know what you’re doing and do it safely.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is helping with safety checks and reminding boaters that life vests are to be readily accessible to each passenger.

“Seventy percent of all fatalities on the waters because of improper use of life jackets,” Fran Estes, a flotilla commander, said.

Experienced boater Michael Wiemann asked for an inspection on Friday to make sure he’s up to speed, knowing some less experienced boaters will pack the waters this weekend.

“Knowing … where to be and who has the right of way and things like that,” he said. “Bigger boats always have the right of way.”

Since it’s the first holiday weekend of the boating season, some cautions are obvious.

“It’s very important to make sure that when you’re operating your boat that the operator is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Lt. Alanna McGovern, with the Coast Guard, said.

On average, 700 people die in boating-related accidents nationwide, but what the Coast Guard hopes is this season will begin incident free.

The Coast Guard recommends everybody take a recreational boating safety course.

U.S. Coast Guard: Pittsburgh
More Reports By Harold Hayes

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