The great American road trip is upon us with 38 million people, a near-record number, expected to travel this weekend for Memorial Day and the start of summer.
The flood of people is spurred by the lowest gas prices in a decade, a nationwide average nearly 50 cents lower than a year ago
But where are they going? Many will head off the road and into the water, with their sights set toward a Tri-State favorite Patoka Lake.
You don’t even need your own boat to enjoy the lake. Patoka Marina has 25 boats to rent for those 21-years or older.
But before the livery turns you loose, their knowledge could be of some use. There are simple rules to follow; like no fishing from the dock, no littering, and no running, however, Patoka Lake Marina is focused on rules that could save your life.
“You’re not allowed to ride outside the gates or on top decks while the boat’s in motion,” says Marina supervisor Steven Bartells.
Something else to watch out for is overloaded boats. A top-heavy boat can capsize, so it’s important to follow the boat’s capacity tag that shows maximum weight.
Boating safety going beyond the lakes, as well.
At Evansville’s Inland Marina, the Ohio River current poses an added danger. But with a designated driver, your Memorial Day party can go on as planned.
“It’s kind of like bar hopping in an automobile,” says Inland Marina’s Ron Riecken. “You need a designated driver, somebody needs to be sober and be in charge, if you do that, you won’t have any problems.”
If you break the rules on the lake, conservation officers and undercover police are looking and won’t hesitate to breathalyze boaters they suspect of drinking and driving.
A citation around $100 or more is a good way to spoil the weekend.
“They try and look to keep people safe,” Bartells adds.