June 2006



Reach, Throw, Row: Donít Go!

Safe paddlerPhoto by George Andrejko, Arizona Game And Fish Department

KEEP THE PEACE -- Quiet and peaceful as they may be, paddle craft are boats too, and paddlers need to follow all the standard boating laws. Although Arizona does not require life jackets be worn by paddlers, Kelley Fowke of AZGFD strongly suggests that they be. Canoers and kayakers also need to be particularly aware of other craft on our now-busy lakes and to keep a watchful eye on the weather, which can change very quickly during the summer months.

By Kelley Fowke, Carol L. Allen

Remember that little jingle, and it could save someoneís life ó someone who is in trouble in the water, according to Kelley Fowke, boating education coordinator for the Arizona Fish & Game Department.

Again: Reach, throw, row: donít go!

One of the first two rules of water safety for swimmers is to know where you are swimming and to never swim alone. If you do see a swimmer in trouble, first try to reach that person and to throw something that will enable him or her to get to shore or be towed to shore.

Or, if possible, row out to the swimmer, taking a floatable something with you to toss to the victim. Above all, however, unless you are a rescue swimmer, donít try to swim to the person in trouble ó all too often, the would-be rescuer gets into trouble too.

Paddle Craft Safety

And, since weíre on the topic of water and safety, letís remind those in paddle craft that they, too, are boaters and need to follow all the standard boating laws. Although Arizona does not require life jackets be worn by paddlers, Fowke strongly suggests that they be. There are many lives lost that might not have been if victims had been wearing life jackets.

Canoers and kayakers also need to be particularly aware of other craft on our now-busy lakes and to keep a watchful eye on the weather, which can change very quickly during the summer months.

Watch The Weather

In fact, all boaters need to keep a watchful eye on the weather. Summer monsoon storms can come up quickly, and the combination of wind and waves can cause severe stern wakes and can swamp a boat.

If you are in the middle of the lake when a storm hits, find a cove or a place by shore to wait out the storm. Sometimes trying to get back to the launch ramp can be hazardous ó all boats coming in and stopping suddenly can cause more wakes, and probably the launch ramp cannot handle all the scurrying craft at once anyway.

Lightning Should Scare

Finally, lightning can and should be frightening to boaters and anglers. When a storm threatens, donít wait until itís upon you, and remember that fishing rods can conduct electricity.

Booze And Boats Donít Mix

And, have we said it before? Simply stated: Never drink and boat!

Common sense? Sure it is, but itís too easily forgotten or ignored until ó itís too late.

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