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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Warm weekend temperatures inevitably will entice North Carolina lake-goers back to the water, to launch the unofficial 2014 boating season. But, veteran boaters, city administrator and lake wardens urge boaters to use diligence in preparing their boats and brushing up on safety education.

According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, 19 people died in 17 boating accidents in 2013.

"Prep work begins on your driveway," said Brandon Schroll, longtime boater and parts manager of Boats Unlimited of Greensboro.

The unofficial boating season in North Carolina will begin this weekend, and boat experts are warning the public to brush up on boat safety, preparation and rules. WFMY News 2

Schroll explained boaters need to check the functionality of their engines, as improper "winterization" of boats could have caused parts to crack or leak. He also advised drivers to charge their battery and put air in their trailer tires. Secondly, Schroll said boaters should take inventory of their safety gear--a throw cushion, a functional fire extinguisher and adequate number of properly-fitting life jackets per passenger on board. Schroll reminded viewers all passengers younger than 13 must wear a personal flotation device approved by the Coast Guard.

Schroll said boaters must ensure their boats have adequate dock lines and fenders, by which they can safely and securely attach the boat to the dock. They also are required to have a mirror, with which the driver can see a passenger using a tube, board or other device attached to the boat.

While on the water, drivers are required to carry proof of having taken a NASBLA-approved ABC class. Schroll reminded boaters that no person under the age of 26 can drive a boat without having taken this course. For a list of boating courses available in Greensboro, visit the Greensboro Power Squadron's home page or call 336-270-5347. Greensboro Power Squadron is offering a one-day course Saturday, May 3 at the Bryant Family YMCA.

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