'Wear It Ohio' campaign focuses on preventing boating accidents
COLUMBUS - The recently launched "Wear It Ohio!" life jacket safety awareness campaign takes on added importance as boaters head out to enjoy the state's waterways, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft.
"Our message is that boating safety begins with the choices boaters make before leaving the dock, which should include properly wearing an approved life jacket or vest," said Pamela Dillon, chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft.
Last year, 14 Ohioans died in boating-related accidents on state waterways and included 12 persons who were not wearing a life jacket. Nationally, boating deaths fell from 710 in 2006 to 688 in 2007, though the number of boating accidents and related injuries rose significantly,according to the U.S., Coast Guard. An estimated 3 million Ohioans enjoy recreational boating each year.
State watercraft officersand local marine patrols will be out in force this season to enforce state boating rules and help educate boaters on safe boating practices.
Boaters also are reminded to limit alcohol consumption and stay sober while on the water. A boat operator is considered legally impaired when blood alcohol content reaches .08 percent.
Other boating safety tips include keeping a proper lookout for other boats and objects in the water, staying alert to boating and weather conditions and being prepared to provide emergency assistance on the water when needed. Additional boating safety information is available online at www.ohiodnr.com.