HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – As the temperatures get warmer, more people are heading out on the water. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is stressing the importance of boater safety this summer.

According to AGFC Captain Stephanie Weatherington, there should be a properly fitting life jacket for everyone on board. By law, all children 12 and under must have their life jacket on and secured any time they are on the boat, but everyone should wear them any time a boat is underway.

Life jackets aren’t the only items a boater needs to check for while preparing for a day on the water. Make sure your boat has a fire extinguisher if it has enclosed fuel tanks and some method to signal for help are important in case you encounter trouble on the water. Additionally, anyone out after dark should make sure that their boat is equipped with a proper light source.

Weatherington also stresses the importance of having a designated driver on the boat at all times and to practice moderation with any alcoholic beverages on board.

Boater education is mandatory for anyone born on or after January 1, 1986 who is operating a motorboat or personal watercraft.