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Officials preach safety while boating

| Saturday, July 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Tens of thousands of boaters and picnickers are expected to flock to Moraine State Park to paddle kayaks, race canoes and watch fireworks for the 15th annual Lake Arthur Regatta.

But as families are having fun on Saturday and Sunday, Jeanne Joy and other volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Butler will make sure everyone knows the rules of boating.

“When you're out on a boat, it's not a walk in the park,” said Joy, 68, of Elderton.

“There are rules there that people have to be aware of.”

Joy said she expects to remind boaters that they must yield to sailboats.

Some new boaters may not know how to navigate through the 3,200-acre lake.

About 30 volunteers from the organization will carry a copy of the Federal Navigation Regulations, which constitute the rules of the water.

Park rangers and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission also will enforce security throughout the weekend and assist anyone who needs help.

Everyone should wear life jackets on the water, said Jake Weiland, assistant park manager of Moraine State Park in Butler County.

It's also important for people to swim only in the designated swimming areas, he said.

“When you're boating, you're not looking for a smaller object, like a head above water,” Weiland said.

“So it's hard to see someone who's swimming, and it's easy to cause an accident that way. It's not worth the risk.”

Lake Arthur is about 10 to 12 feet deep. But in some parts, the lake's bottom plunges to 30 feet, Weiland said. Its size makes it ideal for sailing.

“The purpose of the regatta is to really show off what Moraine State Park has and how close it is,” he said.

Christina Gallagher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5637.

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