OHIOANS REMINDED TO PRACTICE SAFE BOATING FOR A FUN-FILLED SEASON ON THE WATER|
COLUMBUS, OH - When you hop into a boat this season, remember your loved
ones by reminding them to wear a life jacket and to follow safe boating
practices. That's the message state watercraft officers want to impress upon
boaters, particularly this Memorial Day holiday, according to the Ohio
Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
"The fact is boating accidents do happen, yet if the proper measures are
taken, lives can be saved," according to Ken Alvey, chief of the ODNR
Division of Watercraft. "We want people to enjoy Ohio's waters, and we also
want them to return home safely to their families at the end of the day."
The Division of Watercraft reports that while boating fatalities have
declined, the majority of fatalities involve males ages 18 to 50. And while
high speed is assumed to be the biggest culprit in boating fatalities, it's
failing to wear a life jacket or wear it properly that often turns a
dangerous situation tragic. In 2003, Ohio recorded 19 boating-related
"Life jackets are being designed to be lighter and more comfortable and
therefore more appealing to those who should be wearing them," Alvey said.
Ohio law requires that any person riding a jet ski or being towed behind a
boat, in addition to children under the age of 10, who are on boats less
than 18 feet long, must wear a life jacket when on the water.
Boaters are also reminded that, as with driving a vehicle, drinking alcohol
while operating a boat is a lethal combination. Watercraft officers will
issue citations to boaters who are operating watercraft while under the
influence of alcohol or drugs. A person is considered legally intoxicated if
their blood alcohol content exceeds .08 and this law applies equally to
driving a motor vehicle under the influence, as well as operating a
No matter where you are boating, be aware of water levels, currents or
drift, wind and waves. Always have a weather radio and a cellular phone,
especially when boating near more rural or unpopulated areas. And keep your
eyes open for other boating traffic.
"The best way to make sure your day on the water is fun and safe is by
completing a boater education course," Alvey said. "These classes are
offered statewide and available online and through home study."
Lake Erie water levels are predicted to be below normal throughout the
summer so boaters need to be watchful of sandbars and banks, which are
identified with markers and become more hazardous as water levels decrease.
The obstacles can change from year to year, so boaters are asked not to rely
on where sand bars were in previous years.
For additional information about boater education courses and other boating
programs and opportunities, visit the ODNR web site at ohiodnr.com