TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Friday marks the start of Memorial Day weekend which also marks the unofficial start to the summer.
But it's also the tail end of National Safe Boating Week, and the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office is gearing up for all the boaters and kayakers heading to the river this weekend.
“With COVID and people being stuck indoors, they flocked to the water last year," said Deputy Jacob Ballard. "I think depending on the weather, we might see the same thing again this year.”
The sheriff's office is working to make sure people that are on the river are boating safely now and all throughout summer.
“With June, July, August, we’re going to have lots of deputies on the water doing our best to cover all of the different areas that people like to recreate in Twin Falls," said Sgt. Ken Mencl. "Just making sure that whether you’re on a motorized or non-motorized, people are doing things that are safe.”
Deputies are re-emphasizing tips people should be aware of when out on the water like looking at the weather and making sure conditions are safe.
People should also make sure any boating equipment is still in working order, and as always, wear a life vest.
“Just remember to wear your lifejackets. It’s only going to save you if it’s actually on,” said Dep. Ballard.
Officials say it's also important to know boating traffic laws to lower the risk of any accidents.
“Staying to the right, allowing that center channel to be occupied by motorized crafts so they can go up and down the river without having roadblocks if you go out on the water," said Sgt. Mencl.
While it may seem like second nature for some, the sheriff's office has witnessed firsthand how quickly circumstances can change, especially after having a boat catch fire at the waterfront last summer.
“As we’re looking at how frequently we see issues occur on the waterway and how quickly things can change," said Sgt. Mencl. "It’s our hope that people keep those things in mind, prepare for the trip, plan accordingly, and make sure they have their safety equipment with them.”
Deputies want everyone to enjoy themselves as much as possible and take advantage of all the recreational opportunities Twin Falls has to offer.
“Have fun out there," said Dep. Ballard. "Be safe and call the sheriff’s office if you have any questions.”