Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources expects record crowds on lakes and rivers across the state this holiday weekend.
Even during the height of the pandemic last year, DNR had to close the boat ramps at Lake Monroe because so many people were on the water. Lakes and recreation areas could see larger crowds this weekend.
DNR officers will patrol to make sure every vessel on the lake has a life jacket, including canoes and kayaks.
“You don't have to wear them, you have to have one wearable per person, if the boats over 16 feet, you're gonna have to have a type four throwable that's a seat cushion or ring buoy also,” said DNR Conservation Officer David Moss.
Life vests must properly fit children and adults on board the vessel.
Alcohol may be consumed aboard boats unless you are the designated driver.
Moss recommends swimmers avoid lakes that have been flooded, as objects such as tree branches that were once visible, may be hidden underwater and pose a hazard.
Boats should also use caution navigating through these areas.
“And especially if you're unfamiliar with the water, or there's a lot of people around, go at a lower speed.”
Moss recommends swimmers and boaters tell someone who won’t be accompanying them on where they will be.
“Where if you're going out make sure that somebody knows where you're going when you're going to be back and things of that sort,” Moss said.
Moss said several beaches, including at Lake Monroe don’t have lifeguards.
Those who want to use boat launches at DNR owned property, including Lake Monroe, must purchase a launch permit. Permits cost $25 for motorized boats and $5 for non-motorized vessels. They can be purchased on DNR’s website.