PATOKA LAKE, Ind. (WEHT) – As the unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day Weekend is also time for people to shine up those boats and take to the water for a couple of days off with family and friends. Eyewitness News spoke to some boat owners about getting their boats out on the water for the first time this year.
“This is like my only day off for the rest of the summer. So I’m so excited. I was able to come out today and be with the family on the boat,” said Hannah Smith.
“First time we got out it’s just nice to get out after it’s been so cold. It’s finally warmed up,” said Logan Kloeck.
Many boaters we spoke to said that having the option to get out on the boat starting last summer was key especially during the pandemic. And boat sales are still climbing. According to the National Marine Manufacturer Association, sales have gone up 34 percent in 2021.
“There wasn’t a whole lot open a lot of traveling you couldn’t do so we stay close to home and came out here and enjoy the water and it was a good time,” said Sue Kloeck.
“You can bring all your friends out and you don’t have to worry about traveling too far or interacting with too many people during COVID,” said Lauren Beyke.
But with an increase in boaters comes an increase in dangers. Boaters telling us safety is number one, especially when having their families on board.
“Watch out for people acting crazy, you get a lot of that especially on like a holiday weekend. A lot of younger kids out here,” said Nick Hayslip.
“Have all your life jackets. We always keep a fire extinguisher on and first aid kit,” said Tom Kloeck.
“If you fall off the tube, we always put our hands up to make sure let others know like ‘hey, we’re here,'” said Smith.
Overall, boaters said it was a safe and successful outing for these boat owners who got to enjoy a little time off with families and friends.
“Real nice day. It’s a nice lake and just having fun and relaxing,” said Tom Kloeck.