ODNR reminds boaters to stay safe on the water

Press Staff Writer

        Though summer doesn’t start officially until June 21, boaters are heading back on Ohio waters. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has a few reminders to help families have a fun and safe summer on rivers and lakes
        In Ohio, alcohol is involved in nearly a quarter of all fatal boating accidents. Just like driving a car, it is illegal in Ohio to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Operating a boat under the influence carries serious penalties such as being arrested and having the boat impounded.
        ODNR and the National Safe Boating Council offers these safety tips:
        • 0Wear a life jacket. Make sure everyone is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. New innovative styles provide mobility and flexibility during water activities. Read more about life jacket safety at ohiodnr.gov/discover-and-learn/safety-conservation/recreational-safety/life-jacket-facts.
        • Check equipment. Make sure you have and know how to use all the essential equipment.
        • Make a float plan. Let family and friends know where you’re going and when you will return.
        • Use an engine cutoff device. An engine cutoff device is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
        • Watch the weather. Always check the forecast before departing on the water and frequently during your excursion.
Know what’s going on around you at all times. Often, boating accidents are caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.
        • Know where you’re going and travel at safe speeds. Familiarize yourself with local boating speed zones and always travel at a safe speed.
        • Never boat under the influence. A BUI is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities.
        • Stay connected. Cell phones, satellite phones, EPIRB or personal locator beacon, and VHF radios can all be important devices in an emergency.
        ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.


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