WATERCRAFT PATROLS RESUME AS OHIO’S BOATING SEASON GETS UNDER WAY|
Watercraft officers patrolled a record 31,951 hours in 2004
COLUMBUS, OH - More than 60 state watercraft officers have returned to seasonal patrols of state waterways and boat launch ramps as Ohio’s recreational boating season gets under way, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“We have an increased presence of patrol officers on state waterways compared to just five years ago, which helps ensure boating safety on the water and a reduction of boating accidents and fatalities,” said Ken Alvey, chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft.
Early season enforcement focuses on the problem of overloading - a leading cause of fatal boating accidents and the subject of “Operation Overboard,” a boating safety awareness campaign aimed at preventing swamping and capsizing.
Last year, Ohio reported 143 boating accidents and a record-low seven fatalities. State watercraft officers conducted more than 70,000 watercraft inspections and logged a record 31,951 patrol hours on the state’s waterways in 2004. The U.S. Coast Guard and local marine patrol units assisted in this and other watercraft safety efforts.
“We have a significantly greater presence on Ohio waters as a result of strong partnerships with other agencies and increased funding, manpower, training and equipment,” said Alvey.
Ohio ranked eighth nationally last year, with 414,938 registered watercraft. More than 3 million Ohioans enjoy recreational boating each year.