So pretty much everyone in southeast Missouri has been on a float trip or a trip to Clearwater Lake or Lake Wappapello. We’re all out there enjoying the beautiful scenery having a great time, whether that’s fishing, floating, tubing or just having a cold one while we’re enjoying the lake or river. Hey, we all like to have a great time on the water!
First things first, we all know operating a boat while under the influence is unsafe, irresponsible and most definitely illegal in the state of Missouri. Now just going on a float trip, you are free to consume all the alcohol you see fit, but remember that on some rivers you are restricted to cans only — no bottles. Make sure you check your local regulations, or you could end up with a hefty fine. Hey, there are many of us who like to get a buzz and enjoy some water and sunlight.
Now to the safety part. Consuming alcohol while being under the hot sun and on the water all day means that you must consume more water than you normally would, or you could become a heat casualty. The sun’s heat and the water all enhance the effects of alcohol, and no one wants to be that guy getting medevaced off the river because he has heat stroke or worse while enjoying a fun trip on the water.
Here are some safety tips:
1) Always have on or have a personal flotation device (PFD) within arm’s reach. There are too many stories every year of people drowning all over the state that could have been prevented simply by wearing a darned PFD.
2) Be prepared for the conditions. If it’s gonna’ rain, bring rain gear and some warmer clothes, so on and so forth. Being a little prepared could save your life. Exposure kills more people a year than you can imagine — even in summer temperatures.
3) Now here’s some big news for everyone. The river and or lake you are on — unless it’s private — does not belong to you. So, treat it like it is a shared space. It’s not a trash can. It should be somewhere you would bring your mother. Trashing public use areas is not good for the environment and looks poorly on the people using the space. You could get a hefty fine for this as well.
I think these rules are all about using common sense. Don’t do anything stupid or irresponsible and you will not get into trouble. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
I know that I’ve been on a bit of a soapbox the last couple of weeks. It’s sad, but sometimes we all need reminded that, hey, we shouldn’t be irresponsible! Have fun and just use good common sense. I’ve seen too many good people cost themselves lots of money and trouble because they forget to think about what are the right or wrong things to do.
I just don’t want to see anyone showing up in the newspaper as missing or worse because they forgot their PFD or had too much to drink and had to be rescued from some remote spot on the Black River. Anyway, have a great week and stay safe out there!