AZGFD offers boating safety tips
NORTH VALLEY – Arizona waterways are teeming with activity and the Arizona Game and Fish Department is reminding all boaters to ensure a safe boating experience by remaining vigilant when out on the water.
The reminder comes after a boat operator on Lake Mohave accidentally reversed the boat and struck a man with the boat’s propeller on Saturday. The man died of his injuries.
“Our thoughts go out to the family of those impacted by this horrible accident,” said Josh Hoffman, AZGFD Boat Safety Education coordinator. “The unfortunate reality of these types of incidents is that most are preventable. Whether someone is on the boat or in the water, safety should remain a priority for everyone.”
Boat operators and passengers should constantly be mindful of their surroundings and possible dangers while on the water.
Of the 86 injury accidents recorded in 2013, 11 were the result of operator inattention, with an additional eight tied to operator inexperience, according to AZGFD statistics. Because of this, the Department recommends that all boat operators and passengers complete a boating safety course to learn how to enjoy time out on the water safely and responsibly.
For a list of courses hosted around the state, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating.
To ensure the safety of those in and on the water, boat operators should turn the vessel’s engine off while not in motion. The boat’s propeller can still be spinning while it is in neutral or idling in the water.
Boaters should also follow these tips:
Before starting the boat’s engine, walk to the stern to make sure no one is near the propeller.
Never reverse a boat to pick someone out of the water.
Never allow passengers to board or exit while the engine(s) are running.
Educate passengers on the location and danger of the propellers.
Take extra precautions around other boats towing skiers and/or tubers.
State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while onboard and vessels must have one life jacket for each passenger.
Anyone being towed by a boat or on a personal watercraft such as a jet ski must wear a life jacket.