RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Labor Day marks what many people consider the last hurrah of summer, and boating is a popular way to spend the weekend. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has some tips for how you can stay safe and avoid accidents if you’re heading on the water.

“Recreational boating and paddlesports activities are enjoyed by individuals and families across the country,” Paige Pearson, Department of Wildlife Resources public information officer, said. “The Department of Wildlife Resources wants everyone to have a great end to the summer on the water, and to do that boaters must remain sober and alert while underway.”

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources recommends that anyone going on a boat wears U.S. Coast Guard approved life vests before heading out on the water. All boat passengers, including children, should wear a life jacket that is in good condition and that fits well.

Regardless of if you are the boat driver or just a passenger, the department also advises that it is important to stay sober while on a boat, and it is best to keep the Labor Day drinks for after you dock.

Also prepare ahead before you set sail. Let someone on shore know where you are going and when you expect to return. Look up not only the weather conditions, but the National Weather Service’s marine forecast and the United States Geological Survey for water temperatures. Even with additional preparation, always make sure you have a plan for how to get back on the boat if you end up in the water unexpectedly.