September 2006

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Make It A Good Day On Arizona’s Waterways

A Letter To Us All

Whenever friends or family are getting ready for a day on the water, whether at a local lake, the river or the ocean, I always tell them to "Keep a good day good!"

It’s a simple statement really, and it’s meant to emphasize that I want them to maintain an awareness of where they are and what they’re doing—all of the time! It’s all too easy to relax too much and lose touch with our sense of self-awareness, especially after being in the sun all day, bounced around by wind and waves.

Add alcohol to the mix, and the likelihood that a good day will remain good can rapidly diminish.

The National Safe Boating Council tells us there are four basic principles we can follow to "Keep a good day good!" They are —

  1. Wearing life jackets saves lives – Wear yours!
  2. Boating education saves lives – Take a class!
  3. A safe boat saves lives – Get a vessel safety check!
  4. Sober boating saves lives – Don’t drink alcohol or use illegal drugs!

One way to help reinforce all of these lessons is to take a boating-safety course from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Power Squadron, or the Coast Guard Auxiliary. In many cases, these courses are free, offered at convenient times and locations, and only require the investment of a few hours. Yet, fewer than 2 percent of Arizona’s 147,000 boat owners take a class each year.

According to the latest available U.S. Coast Guard boating statistics, in 2004, Arizona ranked 30th in the nation in the number of boats registered. Yet, a five-year summary of boating accident statistics shows Arizona has consistently been in the top six states for the total number of reported accidents.

Please remember to wear a life jacket and to refrain from drinking and driving a boat — and please consider taking one of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s boater-education classes.

You can get more information about them by calling the department at (602) 789-3235. You can also go to the department’s Web site at and click on the "boating education" link.

Let’s all "Keep a good day good!" on Arizona’s waterways.

Ed Huntsman

Boating Safety Education Program Manager
Arizona Game and Fish Department