March 2007

Focus Is On Safety

Fourth Annual Arizona Boating Celebration Is May 19 At Lake Pleasant

Grab your kids, invite your friends, bring sunscreen, and haul your boat over to the 2007 Arizona Safe Boating Celebration at the Ten Lane Ramp at Lake Pleasant on Saturday, May 19 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

See a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter from San Diego demonstrate rescue swimmer techniques as they do for real each day around the country.  There will be lots of prizes throughout the morning and information available from boating experts that will help you and your family enjoy boating and be safe at the same time.  

And, don't miss the opportunity for a FREE safety check on your boat. 

The Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Phoenix Sail and Power Squadron, Arizona Game & Fish Department, and Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department are hosting this fourth annual event. Visitors can learn about Arizona boating laws as well as how to operate their boats more effectively and safely. They will also learn about boating dangers, such as excessive speed, alcohol abuse, and carbon-monoxide poisoning.

 Vessel safety checks are a good way to make sure you have the minimum equipment needed for safe boating.  Checks will be performed at the Ten Lane Ramp, the Four Lane Ramp and at the Pleasant Harbor Marina.  The average check takes about 15 minutes and can be performed while you are getting your boat ready to launch. 

Power Squadron and Auxiliary examiners will review the federal and state requirements and make recommendations for additional equipment that will make boating more enjoyable and safer.  For example, examiners will discuss your filing a “Float Plan“before you go boating.

A life jacket fashion show is also being planned where you can see the latest in lightweight, comfortable-to-wear lifejackets.  Wear your lifejacket all the time while on the water.  It will save your life!  Ninety percent of the people who drowned in boating accidents knew how to swim!

"National Safe Boating Week will be celebrated from May 19-26, 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."

 Before heading out on the lake or river —

  1. File a Float Plan. Let your family or a friend know where you are going, how long you will be there, and when you plan to return.  Include information concerning your boat, including its description and registration number, and where you usually go when boating.  Make sure to include who will be on the boat, as well.
  2. Make sure enough life jackets are on board the boat for everyone, and make sure they're all the right size.  Life jackets must be U.S. Coast Guard approved and in good working order, free of holes.  Remember that kids 12 and under must wear their jackets all the time and that they must be the right size for each child.
  3. Check with your eyes, ears and nose that your boat's engine and propulsion system are working properly.
  4. Know the passenger and weight limits for your boat, so you can avoid overloading it.
  5. Make sure your fire extinguishers work.
  6. Put drain plugs back in your boat.
  7. Never drink and drive a boat.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will be scheduling “Operating Under Influence (OUI) checkpoints” at various times and places 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.

The U.S. Coast Guard estimates more than 400 lives could be saved nationwide if the boaters had worn life jackets. In 2006, 14 people lost their lives in Arizona.  All of the participating organizations want to make sure that everyone knows what they can do to protect themselves and their families.

Everyone should take a boating-education class sponsored by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Power Squadron, and/or Arizona Game & Fish Department. Knowledgeable boaters are safe boaters. There will be plenty of info on classes at the celebration, as well.

Boaters will also receive a "goodie bag" packed with information on safe-boating information and free promotional items.  Planned activities include prizes for having your boat checked.