Boat safely this busy Memorial Day weekend

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May 21st, 2009

National Safe Boating Week ends May 22, but the Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds watercraft operators that safe boating should be exercised year-round.

The upcoming Memorial Day holiday means more boats are likely to be out on Arizona’s waterways. Here are some precautions you should take before heading out on the water to help ensure a safe, enjoyable experience:

  • Make sure enough life jackets are on board the boat for everyone, and make sure they’re all the right size, U.S. Coast Guard-approved, and in good working order, free from holes. Wear your life jacket.
  • Know the “rules of the road.” The correct direction of travel on Arizona lakes is counterclockwise (shoreline off your right shoulder).
  • Check that your boat’s motor and propulsion system are working right.
  • Never operate a boat while intoxicated. Alcohol limits for boat operators are identical to those for motor vehicle drivers and you could be arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol if you exceed those limits.
  • Don’t crowd other boaters, and remember to maintain a safe distance when passing others.
  • Know the passenger and weight limits for your boat, so you can avoid overloading it.
  • Make sure your fire extinguishers work.
  • Put drain plugs back in your boat after winter storage.

Visit www.azgfd.gov/boating to view other boating regulations, too.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department recommends taking a boating education class. Statistics show knowledgeable boaters are safe boaters. Those interested in taking a Game and Fish boating safety class can call (623) 236-7235 or visit www.azgfd.gov/boat-ed for more information.

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