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According to the Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft, there were 155 boating accidents in 2007 in Ohio. Out of the 155 accidents, there were 80 injuries and fourteen fatalities. Twelve out of the fourteen victims who died as a result of a boating-related accident were not wearing lifejackets.

Passenger/Skier Behavior, Operator Inexperience, Careless/Reckless Operation, Alcohol Use, and Operator Inattention combined to cause 43% of the reported accidents, and resulted in half of the 14 fatalities.

The ODNR Divion of Watercraft has developed the four S.A.F.E. Boating Principles, which, if followed, will allow boaters to have a safer and more enjoyable boating experience.

Sober boating – drive your boat sober

Alertness – look first and have a proper lookout

Fasten life jacket – buckle up and wear the gear

Education – get trained

Please see the ODNR Division of Watercraft Safety Tips for more boating safety information.

Boating on Lake Erie, specifically, poses unique problems not found in other areas. A few things boaters should be aware of: 1) minimal navigation equipment includes a compass and an up-to-date chart of the lake, as well as a basic understanding of navigation and navigation tools; 2) Lake Erie storms are known for catching boaters by surprise so chack the forecast before boating, monitor the weather on a marine radio, and head for safety as soon as you are aware of bad weather; 3) A seaworthy boat designed for rough waters is necessary considering Lake Erie can produce rolling and sometimes violent waves; and, 4) be able to recognize the commercial fishnets that are in the lake (they are marked with red flags).

For additional safety information specific to Lake Erie, please visit Ohio’s Boater Education website, BoatEd.

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