Article Posted: May 01, 206

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COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio boaters will again benefit from free safety inspections conducted during the month of May by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft and its boating partners, the U.S. Power Squadrons, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and some local marine patrol units. The inspections are aimed at increasing boating safety awareness in observance of National Safe Boating Week, May 20-26.

“These free safety inspections are held at boat ramps across the state to ensure that boating remains a safe recreational pastime on the state’s waterways,” said Mike Quinn, acting chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft.

Watercraft safety inspectors do not issue citations, but instead provide completed written inspections that allow boat owners and operators to make recommended improvements to the safety equipment on their boats. Officers and inspectors look for properly working equipment such as fire extinguishers, horns, navigational lights, distress signals and an adequate number of approved life jackets that are of the proper style, size and fit for any passengers who are likely to be aboard a particular boat.

A limited number of floating key chains that are ideal for carrying a watercraft registration will be distributed to boaters whose vessels undergo the safety inspections. In addition, beginning May 19, watercraft officers will distribute a limited number of wrist bracelets inscribed with the words “Wear Your Life Jacket” to boaters they observe on the water who are properly wearing a life jacket.

The North American Safe Boating Week campaign began in 1957 and continues to increase boating safety awareness by encouraging boaters to always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket of the proper type and size, to take an approved boater education course, to participate in a free watercraft safety inspection and adopt other safe boating practices.

An estimated 3 million Ohioans enjoy recreational boating each year. Recreational boating in Ohio contributes an estimated $2.1 billion annually to the state’s economy and supports the fulltime equivalent of an estimated 19,000 jobs.

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