CARTERET, N.J. — PIX11 was on the water with New Jersey State Police Tuesday, inside of a 29-foot zodiac — one of about 85-vessels troopers use to secure the state’s waterways.
Troopers advise, before you get on the boat with your friends and family this summer, make sure you take a boater safety course.
“When you don’t have your license you don’t understand the laws of the water," said Trooper Nigel Ferreira, who's been with the department for nearly five years.
Before leaving the dock vessels should also be in good operating condition, as well as oiled up and fueled up.
Once you do anchor away, make sure there are life-jackets available for everyone aboard, and, be a defensive driver just like you would on a highway.
“One of the biggest dangers in now is bow riding - when the boat is moving and you have a person in front of your boat, not in a designated seat,” said Trooper Ferreira.
“That person could fall over, get seriously hurt or even die.”
As for speed - the restrictions vary depending on the waterway but according to troopers, you’re suppose to maintain a safe speed when your within a 200-foot distance from surrounding vessels and structures.
“If you’re operating at a high rate of speed your reaction speed may not be adequate enough to avoid accidents.”
And for those who love jet-skis, they aren’t allowed on the water after sunset. They can also be dangerous if driven carelessly.
“If you hit a wake or boat you could be ejected off the jet ski."
When boating after sunset, running and navigational lights are a must.
“You need to have sound producing devices and visual distress signals like a flare kit,” said Sgt. Jonathan Fritz, who's been with NJ State Police for 19-years.
And while you’re allowed to drink on your boat, boating while intoxicated is strictly enforced.
“If you’re caught drinking and driving on a boat over the limit, you could lose your license for the roadway too,” said Sgt. Fritz.
“Just be safe out there, and enjoy yourself and be mindful of others.”