Article Posted: April 19, 2001

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COLUMBUS, OH -- Introducing people to recreational boating and fishing is the focus of "Water Works Wonders," a new initiative of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the non-profit Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF).

"Few activities bring families together like boating and fishing," said ODNR Director Sam Speck. "In this joint effort with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, our agency is working to recruit newcomers to these pastimes while encouraging current enthusiasts to continue enjoying and supporting these activities."

Ohio is among four states participating in the RBFF's five-year pilot project to promote recreational boating and fishing. Other states include Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington. The campaign was launched last month with the unveiling of a national television network advertising campaign.

In May, Ohio is scheduled to kickoff a variety of community-based events promoting waterway fun and celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week (June 1-10). Included in those events is Free Fishing Days, June 2-3. This special promotion encourages novice anglers to fish Ohio's rivers, lakes and streams and does not require a fishing license during those two days. Additional activities promoting boating and fishing can be found at the end of this release.

With 1.3 million anglers, Ohio ranks 11th nationally in the number of people who fish. Seventy-five percent of Ohioans who boat also fish, and 50 percent of all boating time is spent fishing. Surveys show 85 percent of all Ohioans have fished at some point in their life.

Last year, Ohio tallied a record 416,798 registrations of recreational watercraft, representing about 245,000 households. Ohio's typical boat-owning family averages 1.7 registered watercraft, including powered personal watercraft. An estimated 3.5 million Ohioans participate in recreational boating each year.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation was established after passage in 1998 of the Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act, which allocated $36 million of Sport Fish Restoration Funds to implement a five-year outreach and communication effort. The ODNR's divisions of Watercraft and Wildlife regulate and administer various rules and projects associated with the wise use and conservation of water and wildlife resources.

More information about RBFF can be obtained online at

The following events are scheduled here in Ohio to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week:

South Shore Marina will host the first event on May 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at Cowan Lake in Clinton County. The afternoon will feature several boating seminars, displays and plenty of free boat rides.

A "Take Me Boating," event will be hosted by Stamper's Boat Barn on Caesar Creek Lake in Warren County from noon to 4 p.m. on May 6. Informational seminars, boating displays and boat tours of the lake will be offered free of charge.

All participants must provide their own lifejackets.

The Cleveland Boating and Fishing Fest, June 1-3 will also celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week. The event will feature various marine demonstrations, informational exhibits, plus displays of state and federal rescue vessels.

On June 2, the ODNR Division of Wildlife will host fishing events at its Hebron State Fish Hatchery in Licking County and the Aquatic Education Center on South Bass Island. Events will also be held at Sycamore State Park in Montgomery County and Grand Lake St. Marys State Park in Auglaize and Mercer counties.

Additional fishing events will be held on Sunday, June 3 at Battery Park Marina in Erie County and Let's Go Fishing Day at Quail Hollow State Park . On Saturday, June 9, Maumee Bay State Park will host a fishing festival.

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