"The combination of high water and high expectations can be deadly when conditions are too extreme for safe boating."

Those are precautionary words from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. And while for most of us, it's simply a matter of common sense, FWP sees enough mishaps caused by careless boating in the conditions we are experiencing right now, they ask that we share some of the dangers boaters can encounter. Especially considering how anxious so many Montanans are to get out on the water after a long winter.

Montana FWP gets it. It's understandable that it can be hard to put safety ahead of adventure when you’ve spent hours planning a boat trip. But, sometimes, the only safe choice is to stay off the water.

But if you  are out on the water this time of year, you should wear a well-fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. It could save your life. If you fall into cold water without a life jacket, you could drown in a matter of minutes.

There are times, especially for less experienced boaters and floaters, when the dangers aren’t readily apparent until they’ve entered the water. High-water hazards and dangers that may include:

>Debris in water

>Cold water

>Logs that get lodged together and block a boat’s ability to float through

>Bridge abutments that catch debris and create swirling waves

>Turbid, muddy water that makes other hazards in the water difficult or impossible to see

Know the current conditions of the body of water on which you choose to do your boating. Montana FWP has a helpful safety information page on their website. They also want to advise that additional fishing access site closures and restrictions are likely as spring runoff continues. For updates on that, check here.

Know your water for safer, happier boating excursions that bring such joy.

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