WCO Report for Erie County 01/24/2007: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: January 24, 207

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on January 24, 207 at 09:18:06:

January 24th, 2007

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert


Winter has arrived and all the good things that come with it. A daily dusting of snow and frigid temperatures has quickly brought a change to the Erie area angling picture. Area tribs are mostly open and for the time being are flowing well although conditions are very clear. Ice has formed along the banks and small pools but for now there is plenty of open water. A good number of anglers considering the nasty weather, have been working the Walnut Creek Channel wall where water levels are high and the deeper water has that winter emerald green tint. The Walnut Creek Marina basin has frozen over but is still very thin. Everyone's question is will we have an ice fishing season?....... and the answer is simply that we have a lot of winter remaining.

Winter Trout Stocking Schedule for the Erie Area
East and West Basin Ponds (Presque Isle State Park) February 15, 2007, This is a changed from the previously published date of February 1st, 2007

Lake Pleasant February 20th, 2007

Upper Gravel Pit Pond (Fairview) February 2nd, 2007

Safe Boating Class Coming Up:
Area officers from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will be conducting a safe boating class on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 20th and 21st from 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM each evening. The class will be held at the new Tom Ridge Environmental Center at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park. This comprehensive 8 hour class is designed for the novice boater or boater to be, as well as the experienced boater who would like to refresh his knowledge. The class covers basic boating safety, boating laws and regulations, and equipment. Successful completion of the course qualifies the individual for a Pennsylvania boating education safety certificate (card). There is no charge for the course or materials, although registration is required. This class typically fills up quickly and early sign up is recommended. Upon successful completion of the course , the Agency will require a processing fee for your Basic Boating Safety Card if one is desired.

To register for this class, email DWCO Randy Leighton at rglerie@msn.com with your name, address, phone, age, and number of people you would like to register or if necessary you can phone Keith Edwards at the PFBC Northwest Region office at 814-336-2426

2006 Pennsylvania Boating Accident Analysis from Dan Martin, Boating Safety Education Manager, PFBC:

The total number of reported recreational boating accidents in Pennsylvania declined slightly in 2006. Boaters and officers reported only 66 recreational boating accidents of all types, a decrease of six accidents from 2005. The number of vessels involved in reported accidents totaled 77, an incredibly low total. Pennsylvania boaters reported 65 injuries requiring medical treatment, the same number as in 2005. Property damage to vessels totaled $137,438, less than half of what was reported last year. Most accidents with property damage or minor injuries are not reported.

The numbers of Pennsylvanians plying the waterways in 2006 may have decreased from previous years. Gasoline prices were at record highs, the number of currently registered boats decreased, and the weather for boating in two of the three summer months was far from ideal. For example, in June at Harrisburg there were 13 days that had measurable rainfall, nearly 5 inches more than normal. July also had 13 days with rain, with total rainfall 2 inches more than normal. In contrast, August had only four days with measurable rainfall. Weather dramatically affects participation in boating, and it is a factor that cannot be ignored when comparing statistical safety data from year to year.

Of the 66 reported accidents, 17 were collisions, 10 of which were collisions between vessels. The types of reported accidents were as follows:

Falls overboard 17

Capsizing 16

Collision with vessel 10

Collision with fixed object 6

Swamping/flooding 4

Hit by propeller 3

Skier mishap 3

Other 2

Fall within boat 2

Fire/explosion 2

Collision with floating object 1

Personal watercraft (PWC) were involved in eight accidents in 2006, seven fewer than in 2005. Seven of the accidents involving PWCs were collisions, accounting for 41 percent of the total number of collisions for all boats. Eleven injuries were reported in accidents involving PWC. For the second year in a row, PWC operators or passengers were fatally injured (see recap #9). This was a double fatality involving a collision with another boat.

Nineteen fatal recreational boating accidents resulted in 25 fatalities. This is 13 more fatalities than the number that was reported in 2005 and the worst year since 1990. Only three of the 25 victims were wearing personal flotation devices at the time of the mishap that resulted in their

deaths. Two of those victims were killed in one accident by blunt force trauma, so PFD use was not a factor in that accident. Seven of the victims had wearable PFDs onboard the boat but did not wear them, and in five fatalities there were no PFDs onboard. In three accidents involving six fatalities, the use of PFDs was not applicable, and in three accidents involving five fatalities insufficient PFDs were onboard. The 25 fatalities in 2006 were nearly double the average for the last 10 years (13.2). Chance is always a factor in the number of recreational boating fatalities, and 2006 was a terrible year.

The attached "Recap of 2006 Pennsylvania Boating Fatalities" illustrates the importance of safe boating practices. It provides a summary of all fatal recreational boating accidents in the Commonwealth last year. The recap's last page details statistical information about 2006's fatal boating accidents. The following are some highlights from that statistical information.

In 2006

There were more fatalities in any year since 1990 (27 fatalities), the second worst year since 1983 (25 fatalities).

In accidents in which PFD use was a factor, only one victim was wearing a life jacket. Eighteen of the victims may still be with us today if they had worn a PFD at the time of the mishap that resulted in their death.

Eight of the 25 victims were onboard unpowered boats. Seventeen were onboard powerboats.

Thirteen fatalities occurred on rivers, seven on lakes, three on Lake Erie, and two on ponds.

Nine of the victims died when their boats capsized, six fell overboard, and one was in a boat that swamped. Seven died in collisions, and two died when their boat went over a dam.

Hypothermia or sudden immersion into cold water was a possible factor in seven fatalities.

Alcohol was a possible contributing factor in 14, one of the worst years ever in Pennsylvania.

Twenty-three of the 25 victims were male; eight of the victims were anglers; eight were paddling a canoe or kayak or rowing a boat.

Fourteen of the 25 victims were known to be able to swim.

Two of the victims were less than 18 years of age; six were older than 50.

The average age of the victims in 2006 was 38. In 2005 it was also 38.

Three of the boat operators involved in the fatal accidents had taken a boating course.

The month of June accounted for seven fatalities; July had six; May followed with three. February, April, August, and September each had two. November had one, and there were no fatalities in January, March, October, and December.

Fifteen of the fatal accidents happened in the afternoon, four in the morning. Five happened after dark.

Fatalities occurred on six different weekdays. Saturday had the most with nine. Friday and Sunday followed with five each; three happened on Monday; Thursday had two. Only one occurred on a Tuesday with none on Wednesdays.

The Commission is committed to improving boating safety. Please use the information in this report to teach people how to boat safely and responsibly.

Local Weather:

Local Radar from the National Weather Service

Wednesday Night
Snow showers. Additional snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches. Lows around 18. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 80 percent.

Snow showers likely. Additional light snow accumulation. Highs in the lower 20s. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 80 percent.

Thursday Night
Snow showers likely. Brisk and cold with lows around 11. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 60 percent.

Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the lower 20s.

Friday Night
Mostly cloudy. Lows 15 to 20.

Mostly cloudy. A chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Highs around 30. Chance of snow 30 percent.

Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Lows around 20.

Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the upper 20s.

Sunday Night
Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Lows 15 to 20.

Mostly cloudy. A chance of snow showers in the morning. Highs in the mid 20s. Chance of snow 30 percent.

Monday Night
Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Lows 15 to 20.

Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Breezy with highs in the upper 20s.

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