Monday, August 29, 2011

Boating safety a key component of summer's last holiday

With summer drawing to its unofficial close this Labor Day holiday weekend, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Watercraft is urging boaters to stay sober and stay alert.

The advice comes at an especially noteworthy time following the death over the weekend of a kayaker who ventured out onto Lake Erie.

Here is a press release from the Natural Resources Department which it asked to be reprinted as a community service message.

Boaters and swimmers are strongly encouraged by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to make safety a top priority during this last month of the traditional summer swimming and boating season. Following common sense rules of safety will ensure that a day of fun on the water does not turn into a moment of tragedy.

“Most of the tragic incidents that claim Ohioan’s lives on the water occur quickly and unexpectedly – heartaches that can be easily avoided when safety is made part of the plan,” said ODNR Director David Mustine.

ODNR is working in cooperation with its community partners and asking Ohio’s media outlets to again remind boaters and swimmers to:

• Properly wear a life jacket anytime while boating;
• Provide proper and alert supervision at all times to those persons who are swimming, especially children;
• Enjoy boating and swimming while sober;
• Swim only in designated areas;
• Use the buddy system and never boat or swim alone;
• And be prepared to render assistance if an emergency arises.

“We are fortunate to have an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities to enjoy in Ohio, but all present potential hazards that need to be taken seriously," said Mustine.

Hikers, campers, cyclists and others who are active in the outdoors also should keep safety in mind when visiting Ohio’s state parks, forests and other areas. ODNR says that a good way to stay safe on trails, waterways and other areas is to simply follow posted visitor rules.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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