WAUKESHA COUNTY -- Memorial Day Weekend is one of the busiest boating weekends of the year in Southeast Wisconsin.
TODAY’S TMJ4 crews tagged along with officers of the Pewaukee Lake Patrol to see if boaters are abiding by the laws while on the water.
Seargant Greg Heyrman has issued some citations so far this weekend.
“We’re looking for mainly unsafe boating behavior such as people riding on the side of the boat, people riding on the bow of the boat, going too fast, next to other boats,” Heyrman said.
On Sunday, he and another officer are patrolling the entire lake looking for boaters and jet skiers who may be in violation, whether they know it or not.
“Just remind them what the rules are, what the laws are,” said Sargeant Heyrman.
“We’re probably more about education out here on the water than enforcement,” he continued.
Heyrman said it’s legal to drink on a boat, but he explained the same rules apply to intoxicated boaters that apply to intoxicated drivers.
“We’re always watching for that if we do a boat stop and we see someone doing something unsafe, we’re always watching for somebody that may be impaired,” he said.
There’s also a new state law for boaters pulling skiers or tubers behind them.
“It used to be if you were pulling tubers or skiers you had to have a competent observer watching the skiers in addition to the operator of the boat. This year, there’s a law change that you don’t have to have a second person in the boat. But the operator has to have a rear-view mirror that has a large view so they can watch the skier,” said Heyrman.
Even though Pewaukee Police recommend it, wearing life vests on a boat, here on this lake, isn’t required by law.
“On federally controlled waters, anyone under the age of 13, has to be wearing a life jacket when they’re on a boat. So Lake Michigan, Mississippi, on the ocean, not Pewaukee Lake,” he said.
“Fortunately, in the ten years that I’ve been here, I haven’t had any drownings out here,” he continued.
Officers with the Pewaukee Lake Patrol will be back out on the lake for Memorial Day.