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CASTAIC (KTLA) – With the long Memorial Day weekend holiday upon us, authorities are reminding boaters to be safe as they head to Southern California’s lakes and beach harbors.

The holiday statistics are sobering indeed:  last year the Coast Guard reported some 650 deaths and 3,000 injuries nationwide due to boating accidents, and fully 14% of the casualties came over holiday weekends.

Authorities say in the majority of those casualties, victims were not wearing life jackets at the time of their accident.

As a result, the California Department of Boating and Waterways is sending out these simple reminders for holiday boaters:

First, life jackets are a must.  Every person on board a boat in the water is required to have a life jacket available, within close access.

Second, the rule applies to jet skiers as well:  all jet skiers are required to wear life preservers.

Third, alcohol consumption rules for certain waterways must be obeyed.  Some local lakes and reservoirs prohibit alcohol consumption.  And even where alcohol is allowed, boat captains must of course be below the legal limit.

Authorities encourage all boaters to use the ‘designated driver’ policy for their boating.  Alcohol has proved to be a leading contributor to accidents out on the water.

Finally, authorities remind boaters that so-called ‘teak surfing’ — where a person hangs onto the back of a boat in motion — is prohibited.

The carbon monoxide emissions from boat engines have in many cases proved fatal to daredevils who have engaged in teak surfing.