This week, Ohioans will join the rest of America and celebrate the July 4 holiday. Many Ohio residents will enjoy the July 4 holiday by spending a day with family and friends on one of Ohio's 65 lakes. While a time for fun and celebration, those enjoying the July 4 holiday on a lake or boat should also be concerned about safety.
There are roughly 435,000 registered watercrafts in the state of Ohio. This number includes boats of all shapes and sizes as well as jet skis, canoes and kayaks. These numbers definitely indicate that Ohioans enjoy spending time on the water, enjoying some of the state's most precious and scenic natural resources. The large number of boats and other watercraft vehicles also presents safety concerns.
Under state law, Ohio residents who own or plan to operate a boat are required to complete a safety class or pass an accompanying test. These safety classes provide boaters with important information on how to safely operate a boat to avoid being involved in or causing a boating accident.
In addition to boating safety classes, individuals who operate a boat are reminded to abide by strict safety guidelines. Individuals who operate a boat should not drink alcoholic beverages or ingest illegal drugs. These substances greatly inhibit an individual's ability to think clearly and react quickly which poses a huge safety risk.
Additionally, all individuals aboard boats smaller than 18 feet long are reminded to wear life jackets. It's especially important that parents ensure all children aboard a boat have a life jacket that fits and is properly secured. Following these safety rules can help ensure that all Ohio residents who enjoy the state's lakes this July 4 holiday have a safe and fun time.
Source: Port Clinton News Hearld, "Officials encourage fishing, boating and beach safety," June 19, 2013