Iowa DNR ensures boat safety on Labor Day weekend - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa DNR ensures boat safety on Labor Day weekend

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As a part of Labor Day weekend, many eastern Iowans spent at least part of their Labor Day weekend outdoors. For many, the weekend is a popular boating weekend which makes rivers like the Mississippi River in Dubuque somewhat busy. But the Iowa DNR says although the river may look busy, it is just as busy as any other weekend during the summer months.  Nate Johnson is a conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

"I would say this is an average summer weekend day for what we see here in the Dubuque area.  There are quite a few people out, but as far as it being busier then any other nice, hot weekend in the summer I would say this is about average." Johnson said.

Regardless of how busy the river is, nearly three times a week, two water patrol officers boat their way around the Mississippi checking fishing permits, safety equipment and looking for drunk boaters in order to make sure everyone is staying safe.

"When we are out here we are looking for boating safety equipment violations, we are looking for reckless operation, overloading, people not wearing their life jackets on a personal watercraft or while being pulled on a tube," Johnson said. "We also look for kids under 13 years old not wearing their life jackets...That's a violation that we see pretty commonly."

Johnson says the officers have one goal when they are out on the river, safety.

"That's our overall goal, is to make sure people are operating their boats safely and making sure they are taking those precautions a head of time to make sure they designate a driver, make sure they have all their safety equipment on board, and know that their lights work before they leave the ramp." Johnson said.

DNR officers say they write about two to three citations on an average day during the week.

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