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How Arkansans can stay safe on the water over Memorial Day Weekend

It's Memorial Day Weekend which means a lot of Arkansans are heading to the lake, but that also means more possible injuries from boating accidents.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — It's Memorial Day Weekend and a lot of people are heading to the lake.

"This is one of the busiest weekends of the year," said Trey Reid with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

It is the unofficial beginning of summer and is the time people head outside and back to the water.

But with more people, comes more possible injuries.

According to Reid, May and July are the biggest months for boating accidents in Arkansas.

He said there are some things you should not do when you get behind the helm.

"When you run into problems is when either people aren't paying attention or are mixing drugs and alcohol when operating the boat and that's not a good idea," said Reid.

Alongside those boating don'ts, comes some advice on things that you should always practice when you're out on the water. 

"Life jackets are like wearing a seatbelt in a car," said Reid.

There are even new options to enhance comfort while out all day.

"There's so many different designs out there right now. There are inflatable life jackets that are activated should you hit the water. You'll forget you're wearing them," said Reid.

And if you had any plans to take a boat on the Arkansas River, you might want to think again. There's a small craft advisory and it is not recommended to take your boat onto the river this weekend.

"We do have high flows right now as we are evacuating some flood storage we've accumulated from some pretty significant storms in Oklahoma," said Col. Eric Noe with Army Corps of Engineers.

And that's good to keep in mind if you get out of the boat and decide to swim.

"Know your abilities as a swimmer. We have had a lot of rain. There maybe some swift water in some of our area streams," said Reid.

Last year, there were 54 boating accidents and 11 boating-related fatalities in Arkansas.

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