Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

AZGFD Offers Tips For Boating Safely, Responsibly

Time on Arizona's many lakes can be fun for the entire family, but great memories can only be made if that fun is done safely and responsibly.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds boaters and water enthusiasts to constantly be mindful of their surroundings and possible dangers while on the water.

"Time spent on our lakes and waterways should be a fun time for everyone," said Josh Hoffman, AZGFD Boat Safety Education coordinator. "Whether you're on a boat or in the water, everyone must remain vigilant to ensure time on the water is safe for all."

The reminder comes after a 25-year-old man was struck by a boat propeller at Lake Pleasant north of Phoenix in late June. The man suffered serious wounds and was airlifted to a local hospital, according to authorities.

To ensure the safety of those in and on the water, boat operators should turn the boat's engine off while not in motion. The vessel's propeller can still be spinning while the boat is in neutral or idling in the water. Boaters should also keep the following tips in mind:

State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while onboard and that the vessel 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.

Before starting the boat's engine, walk to the stern to make sure no one is near the propeller.

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.

Never reverse a boat to pick someone out of the water.

"Our thoughts go out to the person that was injured on Sunday, but people should remember that many accidents that occur on the water are avoidable. Simply being aware of your surroundings and how to properly operate your boat or personal watercraft is critical to making sure everyone has a great time," Hoffman said.

It's also recommended that all boat operators and passengers complete a boating safety course. For a list of courses hosted around the state, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/boating.


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