Celebrate Labor Day weekend by boating safely

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August 31st, 2009

Holiday weekends are perfect opportunities to gather family and friends, pack food, and hitch up the boat to head out to one of Arizona’s waterways. The Labor Day holiday is nearly upon us and that means that boating safety should remain on the minds of recreational boaters before launching their watercraft.

Arizona’s waterways can expect high use during holiday weekends, and boating safety officials from the Arizona Game and Fish Department want to remind boaters to take precautions to ensure a safe but enjoyable experience this Labor Day.

Before hitting the water, boaters can refer to or download the Arizona Boater’s Guide from the Department’s Web site, or simply follow some basic safety tips:

  • 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. Keep in mind that 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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