As the weather warms and boaters venture forth for another season, boating safety advocates have some advice.

Rachel Johnson, of The National Safe Boating Council, says their best tip is the need for everyone in a boat to wear a life jacket.

"Probably the simplest thing that you can do to be safe out on the water."

Another big point for boating safety advocates is avoiding alcohol use.

Sgt. Chris Jones, of the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau, says even if a boat operator is sober, "if those passengers on that vessel are intoxicated, they might not be able to save themselves in a tragic incident."

According to Sgt. Jones, New Jersey averages between four to nine fatalities a year, "depending on the amount of boats that are out on any given summer, and it depends on weather."

It is a good time to keep boating safety in mind, with the increased use of boats and water sports at this time of year in New Jersey.

Jones says for the paddle sports — kayacks, canoes, standup paddle boards — "they are required to have life jackets on board. There is no mandatory wear for life jackets, but those people who are recreating on those paddle craft need to have those life jackets on board, and I am going to recommend wearing them. But there is no law to back me up on that. And they are vessels, they have to also abide by the rules of navigation, just like any other craft out there."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5


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