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No life jacket? Expect a ticket

Officers will be out in force on area lakes and rivers this week to enforce the state's life jacket law. (AP file)

With the summer weather in full swing, plenty of people are taking to the water this week. But if you head out in the boat or for a float without a life jacket, it's going to cost you.

Officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be out in force patrolling lakes and rivers to make sure children under the age of twelve are wearing life jackets and adults have one with them.

"We have always enforced this law, always. And if you don't have a life jacket, you get the ticket," says Sgt. Kim Chandler with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

There have already been several drownings in recent days on local waters. A 10-year old boy died Sunday afternoon near Arlington after getting swept into the Stillaguamish River. He wasn't wearing a life jacket.

Chandler says that drowning and others should be a wake-up call.

"I think most of it is people floating the rivers, as evidenced by all the incidents of the last several weeks," he says.

Chandler says conditions are particularly dangerous right now because many area rivers and lakes are still extremely cold.

"There's no reason for anyone to not have a life jacket. It's just common sense."

The fine for boating without a life jacket is $87.

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