ODNR: Boaters reminded to play it safe, follow the rules of the water

Press Staff Writer

        People all around Ohio will be answering the call to adventure this summer, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) wants to make sure everyone stays safe as they prepare for summer fun.
        Boaters are reminded to play it safe and follow all the rules of the water.
        “Whether it’s sailing off the coast of Lake Erie or cruising on an inland lake, Ohio State Parks is full of fun opportunities for boaters,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “We want to make sure everyone stays safe by wearing life jackets, staying alert, and steering clear of alcohol.”
        ODNR and the National Safe Boating Council offer the following safety tips:
        • Wear 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.
        • 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. Alcohol is involved in nearly a quarter of all fatal boating accidents in Ohio. Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher carries serious penalties. A drunk boating offender could be arrested and see their boat impounded. A BUI, which includes drug use, is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities.
        • Keep in touch. Cell phones, satellite phones, EPIRB or personal locator beacon, and VHF radios can all be important devices in an emergency.
        By making sensible choices, boaters should have no problem enjoying their boats to their fullest while ensuring that everyone plays safely. 
        Visit ohiodnr.gov for more information and safety tips.


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