With the approaching Memorial Day weekend, many Ohio residents plan to embark on Ohio's rivers and lakes. This coming weekend marks the offical start of summer in Ohio and also the unofficial start of boating season. It's appropriate then that this week is National Safe Boating Week and an excellent time to review boating laws and safe boating practices.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, during 2011, there were 15 boating fatalities that occured in the state. There were, however, many more boating accidents which resulted in several serious injuries and thousands of dollars in property damage.
In an effort to promote safe boating practices, Ohio boaters are encouraged to participate in safe boating seminars and training programs going on this week throughout the state. Indiviudals who plan to embark on the chilly waters would alos be wise to ensure they are in compliance with the following safe boating laws.
- All children ages 12 and under must wear a life jacket while aboard a personal vessel – Drowning deaths accounted for 70 percent of reported 2012 boating fatalities. More than 80 percent of those indiviudals who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.
- Drinking and boating do not mix. In general it's best not to drink while on a boat and it's illegal for drivers of boats to drink while operating a boat.
- All personal boats must be equiped with required safety equiptment including a fire extinguisher, emergency flares and a line and anchor. All boats must also contain enough life jackets or flotation devices for every passenger and have properly working lights.
Source: Kentucky Post, "Ohio River safety a priorty during National Safe Boating Week," Sarah Beth Hensley, May 20, 2013