ODNR Shares Boating Safety Tips for Memorial Day Weekend

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the summer boating season, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is reminding boaters to practice safety at all times.

“If you’re going out on the water, it’s critical to practice safe boating,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Wear a life jacket, be alert for potential hazards in the water, and always boat sober.”

ODNR and the National Safe Boating Council offer these tips for enjoying a safe and fun holiday weekend on the water:

  • Wear a life jacket. Make sure everyone is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. New innovative styles provide mobility and flexibility during water activities.
  • Check equipment. Make sure you have and know how to use all the essential equipment.
  • Make a float plan. Let family and friends know where you’re going and when you will return.
  • Use an engine cutoff device. An engine cutoff device is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
  • Watch the weather. Always check the forecast before departing on the water and frequently during your excursion.
  • Know what’s going on around you at all times. Nearly a quarter of all reported boating accidents in 2018 were caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.
  • Know where you’re going and travel at safe speeds. Familiarize yourself with local boating speed zones and always travel at a safe speed.
  • Never boat under the influence. A BUI is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities.
  • Keep in touch. Cell phones, satellite phones, EPIRB or personal locator beacon, and VHF radios can all be important devices in an emergency.
  • Practice social distancing. Follow state and local guidance from public health officials. See tips for social distancing and boating.

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides exceptional outdoor recreation and boating opportunities by balancing outstanding customer service, education, protection and conservation of Ohio’s state parks and waterways.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.