Tips for an enjoyable, safe season on the water

  • Published
  • By Eric T. Hoehn
  • 88th Air Base Wing Safety Office

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Ohio has many terrific bodies of water to enjoy. From the Ohio River to Lake Erie, their beauty and relaxing environment attract thousands of boaters annually.

To make the most of your time spent afloat, target your focus on the following areas:

Boat Safety
Top 10 contributing factors in boating accidents (Provided by Coast Guard)

1. Careless/reckless operation

2. Operator inattention

3. Excessive speed

4. Operator inexperience

5. Passenger/skier behavior

6. Alcohol use

7. Hazardous waters

8. No proper lookout

9. Machinery-system failure

10. Weather

Also, the American Red Cross recommends:

  • Learn to swim. This includes all boating activity participants.
  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination — over 50 percent of drownings result from boating incidents involving alcohol.
  • For the same reasons it’s dangerous to operate an automobile while under the influence of alcohol, people should not drink and drive a boat.
  • Look for the label: Use Coast Guard-approved life jackets for yourself and passengers when boating and fishing.
  • Develop a float plan. Anytime you go out in a boat, give a responsible individual details about where you will be and how long you’ll be gone.
  • Take a boating course. These courses teach about navigation rules, emergency procedures and the effects of wind, water conditions and weather.
  • Watch the weather: Know local conditions and prepare for electrical storms. Stop boating as soon as you see lightning or hear thunder.