CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Mike Jordan, 33, literally knows the ins and outs of boats.
After graduating from the Marine Mechanic Institute in Orlando, Fla., in 2007, Jordan has dedicated his life to boat mechanics by dissecting and repairing motors.
"I enjoy my job and it is always rewarding to see the boats that I've worked on leave the dock," Jordan said.
Jordan began working as a mechanic at Charleston Marine in August 2012 and like many of his co-workers, he believes that training and education is key to boat safety.
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of West Virginia's boat season, and many boat enthusiasts are reminded to play it safe on the water.
Tim Coleman, lieutenant for boating education at the state Division of Natural Resources, said the season gets in full swing around Memorial Day and lasts through Labor Day. He said the most important safety tip is to wear a life jacket. Seasoned swimmers are no exception.
In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 462 boat fatalities that resulted in drowning deaths. Of those 462 deaths, 388 of the individuals, or 84 percent, were not wearing a life jacket.
"It is so critical to wear a life jacket," Coleman said.
"So many deaths could be prevented if people would just utilize life jackets and act responsibly on the waterways."
Coleman said the Kanawha River can be dangerous during the boating season because of heavy traffic on the water. Boaters should take extra precaution when nearing another boat and follow all laws associated with boat travel.
DNR officials reported 36 boating accidents resulting in 12 deaths in 2009. In subsequent years those figures have declined a bit.
Riley Brothers, president of Charleston Marine, a new and used boat dealer near the Patrick Street Bridge that also offers dock and storage space, said his business is at full capacity with 80 boats.
Many other state marinas, including those at Summersville and Sutton lakes, are expected to hit full capacity by this weekend.
Jacob Bennett, an employee at Summersville Lake, said nearly all the slips there are occupied and the lake expects nearly 400 boaters this weekend.