PHOENIX — Spring heat is setting in, and that means many Arizonans
will be heading to the water to cool off. As boating season arrives,
the Arizona Game and Fish Department wants to remind you to stay
safe, especially because Arizona has six of the 20 most dangerous
waterways in the United States.
"National Safe Boating Week [was]
celebrated from May 20-26, but boating safety is really important
every day," says Arizona’s Boating Law Administrator Kevin Bergersen.
"You should always be sure to take the precautions that will help
keep your boating trip safe and fun."
Among the things you should do before heading out on a lake or
- Make sure enough life jackets are on board the boat for
everyone and make sure they’re all the right size, Coast
Guard-approved and in good working order, free from holes.
- Check that your boat’s motor and propulsion system are working
- Know the passenger and weight limits for your boat (they have
been upgraded), so you can avoid overloading it.
- Make sure your fire extinguishers work.
- Put drain plugs back in your boat after winter storage.
- Don’t ever drink and drive a boat.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department schedules operating under
the influence (OUI) checkpoints at various times throughout boating
season. The department also uses high-saturation or "wolf-pack"
patrols, where officers patrol high-use areas, looking for impaired
boat operators on our waterways.
"We want everyone to enjoy their time on the water in a
responsible way," says Bergersen. "By following the tips above,
folks can have a great time, and needless tragedies can hopefully be
The U.S. Coast Guard estimates more than 400 lives could have
been saved nationwide in 2003 if all boaters had worn life jackets.
In 2004, 12 people lost their lives in Arizona, six of who could
possibly still be alive today if they had worn life jackets.
Also, alcohol was a contributing factor in about one-third of all
reported recreational boating deaths. We want to educate everyone
about the things they can do to protect themselves and their
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 (602) 789-3235 or visit