Boating safety 101: How to be safe on Arizona's lakes this Memorial Day weekend

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Before you make wakes at the many lakes around the state this weekend, there are some things to keep in mind. While some people are avid boaters, others on the water will be beginners and many will be drinking.

The lakes are going to be packed this holiday weekend and the various law-enforcement agencies want to make sure everyone is safe.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, 133 arrests were made last year in the county for OUI -- operating under the influence. That being said, don't drink and boat.

Arizona's OUI  laws, like its DUI laws, are among the toughest in the country.

If you are charged with OUI, a class 1 misdemeanor, the penalties can include up to six months in jail, a mandatory alcohol-education class, and a fine of up to $2,100. A BAC (blood alcohol content) of more than .15 means mandatory jail time -- at least 30 days -- and a higher fine. That's just for first offenses.

In addition to the possibility of impaired boaters, there are a few other things to consider when headed out to the lake.

Make sure there is a life vest for each person on board, as well as floating device that can be thrown in case someone falls into the water.

Check your fire extinguisher to make sure it's up to date and have all your paperwork in order.

The flow in the waterways are always counter-clockwise so if you approach a boat, stay to your right to avoid a collision.

Pay attention to the buoys because they will specify where you can make wakes.

The most important thing to keep in mind? Safety first! Always.

We hope you have a good time on the lake but do it safely.