When you’re packing the dry bags for a trip on the lake or river, add “caution” to the sunscreen, flotation devices and bug spray.

Drowning is the leading cost of death for American kids ages 1 to 5. A sober adult should always be tasked with watching children in or near water, and they should wear PFDs.

Among older kids and adults, drowning is still a leading cause of death. Moving water through rapids or strainers increases boating risk, and alcohol compounds the danger.

This weekend law enforcement officers across the state will be on the water, talking about safe boating practices and checking for impaired boaters. A new state law that took effect Monday sets the blood alcohol concentration limit for operating motorized boats at 0.08%, the same as for land-based vehicles.

If hitting the water is your plan this Independence Day or later in the summer, remember to temper your revelry with respect for others and the environment. Don’t litter, don’t drink and boat. Make sure your vessels have the necessary permits, are checked for invasive species and are seaworthy.

This editorial represents the opinion of the News&Guide’s editorial board: Johanna Love, Rebecca Huntington, Kevin Olson and Adam Meyer.

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