Calling all boaters, the traditional start of Ohios boating season is upon us with the arrival of the Memorial Day weekend!
Here are a few more tips to help make your next trip on the water a safe and pleasurable boating experience:
Be familiar with all aspects of operating your boat and do not exceed the limits of your boating skills. Accidents often result from unintentional or unforeseen actions. Going beyond your boating skills puts yourself and others in harms way.
An overloaded boat sits lower in the water, increasing the chances of swamping or capsizing. Know your boats weight capacity and do not exceed that limit. ODNR urges all boaters to obtain a free vessel safety check from a state watercraft officer or local marine patrol officer.
Boating and alcohol do not mix. It affects balance, vision, judgment, coordination and its illegal. Boat passengers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are just as much a risk on the water.
Know and obey the rules for right-of-way and no wake zones. Remember, non-powered vessels, such as canoes and sailboats, have the right-of-way over power boats in all situations. No wake zones require boats to operate at idle speeds in designated areas.
Boats do not have brakes, so always operate your boat at a speed at which you can safely stop your boat to avoid a collision.
File a float plan with family or responsible friend. Let them know a general area of the waterway you plan to use, what time you plan to return and description of your watercraft.
Fishing, skiing, tubing, pleasure boating are all great activities to be enjoyed on your favorite Ohio waterway. But with the fun comes responsibility the responsibility of making sure you and your passengers boat safely.
National Safe Boating Week is May 19-25, and this years campaign theme is Boat Smart From The Start, Wear Your Life Jacket. The National Safe Boating Council and many partner organizations, including the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, sponsor this annual campaign.
Why have a National Safe Boating Week
? Because not enough can ever be said about the need to practice safe boating and the importance of public awareness.
The majority of fatal boating accidents involve persons who are not wearing life jackets and who have fallen into the water as a result of a boat capsizing or becoming swamped, said Jeff Hoedt, chief of ODNRs Division of Watercraft.
Watercraft officers, search and rescue specialists, and emergency medical personnel all stress that life jackets save lives when it comes to boating accidents. There is, however, more to the safe boating equation than life jackets.
Taking an approved boating education course should be a high priority for all boaters, especially beginning boaters, said Hoedt.
Ohio registered more than 418,000 recreational watercraft last year, ranking us the eighth most popular boating state in the country. An estimated 3.5 million people go boating in our state each year.
Under Ohios mandatory boater education law, any person born on or after January 1, 1982 must complete an approved boating education course if they plan to operate any powercraft of ten horsepower or more.
Its just good sense to take one of these courses, said Mike Quinn, law enforcement administrator for the Division of Watercraft. The Ohio Boating Education Course
includes a strong emphasis on safe boating operations, navigational markings and other safety issues.
If youre interested in learning about boating safety classes, call the Division of Watercraft's toll-free information line at 1-877-4BOATER or visit the ODNR web site at www.dnr.state.oh.us
Have fun this summer and enjoy Ohios bountiful water resources, but be wise and boat safely.