Milwaukee -- Gearing up and getting out on the boat might be in your weekend plans, but the coast guard says not so fast.
"We want people to go out and have a good time," US Coast Guard Petty Officer Joseph Jenkins said. "But we want you to be as safe as you can while doing that."
The U.S. Coast Guard gets ready for boating season.
"People are pulling their stuff out."
And ready to hit the water by sail or motor.
Jenkins patrols Lake Michigan around Milwaukee.
"We're out every day to ensure people are in compliance with the Federal laws," Jenkins said. "But our main goal is safety through education. We want people to know what's required of them."
Some people seem to forget an important tool.
"Flares is a big thing," Jenkins said. "Anytime you leave any of the marinas locally, South Shore, McKinley, or any time you come out of the mouth of the river entrance. Right about the Hoan Bridge, as soon as you leave that going out into the harbor you're required to have flares."
The list also includes fire extinguishers, throw cushions, and something that can make distress calls.
Most boaters have heard the safey message before, but Jenkins can't stress it enough.
"Lake Michigan is really unique, it can be nice out and a storm could come in and it could kick up before you know it."
If you don't have the proper safety equipment, you could be ticketed - so it's good to double check now.
The same .08 alcohol limit applies to boating.