Marine patrol stress safety on the waterways

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Warmer temperatures encourage more people on the water channels.

"Once it hits the 70 degree mark, everybody is itching to get out there," said Krysta Melni.

That also means more patrols to enforce the rules on the water and on the docks.

"We just want to make sure that everybody has the right equipment," stressed Levi Meyer, Twin Falls Sheriff's Marine Patrol Supervisor.

In order to enter the water, you'll need a life vest, a whistle, and an invasive species sticker on non-motorized vessels like kayaks and canoes.

The invasive species sticker pays for the checkpoints on all highways entering the state to deplete the spread of zebra and quagga mussels. These stickers can be found at any of the kayak rentals in town or Malad Gorge State Park

The main thing everyone needs is that life jacket.

"Not everybody has to wear a life jacket, but they have to have a life jacket readily accessible," Meyer explained. "If kids are under 14 years of age and they're on a paddle board or a kayak or anything like that, they have to have a life jacket on at all times."

On average, violating the safety equipment policy could cost you $99. If caught operating under the influence on the waterway, you will be charged with the marine equivalent of a DUI.

Meyer also stresses common courtesy while enjoying your outdoor activity.

"Watch for non-motorized boats. If you are in a canoe/kayak, make sure you travel on the right upstream and downstream," he said. "Basically all the navigational rules need to be followed. That way, we can limit the number of boat accidents we have."

Boating accidents have been kept to a minimum (2-3 per year) and officials told us they've been fortunate to avoid boating fatalities these past couple of years, so they hope to keep it that way.

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