Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest for boaters, so don't forget a few safety precautions out there on the water.

That's the message from the Coast Guard, which gets the calls for help when somebody gets in trouble.

"We want everyone to enjoy themselves, but more importantly, we want everyone to be safe," Capt. Melvin Bouboulis, chief of staff for the 8th Coast Guard District, said in a statement sent out Thursday. "People should know the leading contributing factors in accidents while boating are alcohol consumption and not wearing a life jacket or having proper safety equipment."

It's against the law for anyone to operate a vessel on the water under the influence of alcohol.

Make sure everybody has a life jacket. Children under 13 are required to wear a life jacket at all times.

Boaters should also pack a horn or other device that can make noise, flares or other visual distress signal, a signal mirror and a fire extinguisher.

They should also carry a VHF-FM marine radio to call for help in an emergency. The Coast Guard can be reached on VHF-FM 16.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free vessel safety checks and can be reached at

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.