Boating safety tips for the busy Fourth of July weekend

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July 2nd, 2009

During Arizona’s summer months, boaters can count on busy launch ramps and high use at lakes and rivers most any weekend, but this is especially the case during the long holiday weekends. Boating safety officials from the Arizona Game and Fish Department remind boaters to take precautions to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience this Independence Day.

Among the things boaters should do before hitting the water are:

  • Make sure enough life jackets are on board the boat for everyone, that they are the right size, U.S. Coast Guard-approved, and in good working order free from deterioration.
  • Designate a sober captain. Keep in mind that the ‘Boating Under the Influence’ Blood Alcohol Content is .08, which is the same limit as driving a car under the influence of alcohol; penalties include steep fines and jail time.
  • Avoid overloading your boat by knowing the passenger and weight limits for your specific vessel.
  • Know the “rules of the road.” The correct direction of travel on Arizona lakes is counterclockwise (shoreline off your right shoulder).
  • Don’t crowd other boaters, and remember to maintain a safe distance when passing others. After all, boats do not have brakes.
  • Check that your boat’s motor and propulsion system are working right.
  • Make sure your fire extinguishers work.
  • Arizona’s boating regulations can be viewed or downloaded at www.azgfd.gov/boating.

Whether you just bought a boat, or have been boating for years, a boating safety class can prepare you for unpredictable or unexpected circumstances when you are on the water. It could save someone’s life, including yours. Take a boating safety class near you or online at www.azgfd.gov/boat-ed.

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