BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The gorgeous weather of the past few days means a lot of people have been out on the water which has kept local law enforcement pretty busy on area waterways.
Mike and Helen Hartley were out on the water enjoying the calm Tuesday morning and making sure their boat was ready for the weekend.
"We're going to take the grandkids out," said Mike Hartley, a Buffalo Resident.
With precious cargo on board, safety is one of their top concerns.
"U.S. Coast Guard life jackets, properly fitted, make sure our grandchildren are the right weight, and all of that good stuff," said Helen Hartley.
Everyone 12 and younger must wear a life jacket and pretty much anything that floats has to have enough on board for every passenger.
Jared Callahan was wearing his life jacket across his waist as he paddle boarded across the Niagara River.
"Power boats have the right of way, and that's actually a really big concern right now because standup paddleboarding and water sports in general are really exploding in Buffalo, so I have my PFD here. Most people should be wearing their life jackets," said Callahan, who is a local paddleboard instructor.
On busier days, it can get hectic. The Erie County Sheriff's Marine Unit says over the weekend they issued 24 tickets for safety violations, including one for boating while intoxicated.
"The difference between the road and water is that if something happens on the water, help's not usually just around the corner. It could be that you could be in an area where there are no other boats. When accidents occur on the waterway, they're usually very dramatic and tragic," said Commander Rick Lauricella, Erie County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit.
Some of those rules of the water are that boats cannot make a wake within 100 feet of shore, a dive flag, or other boats that are moored or anchored, and the speed limit inside the Buffalo breakwall is 10 miles per hour.
"Everything from rowboats, canoes, paddle crafts, to high-powered boats, boats that go in excess of 70 miles per hour. They're all sharing the waterways, so if people don't know the rules of the road or the regulations, it could lead to a disaster," said Lauricella.
To drive a power boat, you have to be at least 10 years old and have a boating safety certificate if you are under 18. Jet skis can only be operated by someone 14 years of age or older, and everyone using those must have a boating safety certificate.
"They're low to the water. They're difficult to see. It takes a little more skill to operate them," said Lauricella.
Even if you're an experienced boater, experts say, you should pick up a New York state boaters guide every year, as the regulations often do change year to year.
The sheriff's office also recommends every boater pick up a copy of the state boaters guide every year because regulations often change. The guide is available here.