COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft encourages boaters to enjoy fireworks shows and to stay sober and boat safely on the July 4th holiday weekend, which represents among the busiest boating weekends of the year.
Accidents happen quickly on the water and often come with no warning, which makes staying alert, staying sober and keeping a proper lookout for swimmers, objects in the water and other boaters a top priority. Properly wearing a life jacket also saves lives.
Here are some basic safety tips to follow anytime while boating and enjoying fireworks shows while on the water:
- Stay sober. Boat operators, like motorists, are considered legally impaired and may be arrested if their blood alcohol content is .08 or greater.
- Stay alert. Drug usage also poses safety risks for boaters, especially when drugs are abused in combination with alcohol.
- Keep a proper lookout. Operator inattention and failing to keep a proper lookout while operating a boat, especially at night, are among the leading causes of boating-related accidents.
- Enjoy fireworks from a safe distance to the shore and in proximity to other boats on the water. Be sure your navigation lights are in proper working order.
- Swim safe. Some boating-related fatalities result from swimming accidents. Boaters should always properly wear a life jacket while boating and while swimming in combination with their boating activities.
- Stay weather-wise. Capsizing incidents can occur when boats become overloaded and when they become swamped. Sometimes this is due to poor boating conditions such as high winds and choppy waters. Keep alert to all weather forecasts.
Boating safety tips and other boating program information is available online at www.ohiodnr.com.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.