Risk Of Ohio Boating Accidents Causing Injuries and Fatalities Increase As Ohians Enjoy Summer Water Sports.
With the summer season in full swing Ohians are enjoying boating, water skiing, kayaking and other water activities. However, this also means a higher risk for Ohio boating accidents. Unfortunately, fatal boating accidents have already occurred on Ohio waterways. Recently, a Central Ohio man was sentenced after he hit and killed a young girl who was water skiing on Alum Creek Reservoir two years ago. Boating is a great pleasure sport in Ohio and across the country, but it also involves over 1,000 boating injuries every year.
[dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/07/06/boater-sentenced.html, Columbus Dispatch, July 6, 2016]
Last year, 14 fatal Ohio boating accidents were reported. Of the total, six involved powerboats, four involved kayaks, two involved sailboats and one each involving a pontoon and rowboat or scull. Of those investigated, seven of the fatal Ohio boating accidents involved instances where life jackets were not worn or not worn correctly. This led to five of the deaths being due to drowning, two were due to trauma, two in which the cause of death is not known, and five are still under investigation.
The primary contributing factors in two boating fatalities last year were alcohol or drug use, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Watercraft Division. Passenger or the skier’s behavior contributed to two more boating fatalities while operator inattention, wake, careless or reckless operation, sitting or standing on the gunnel/bow/transom were one or more contributing factors in five fatalities.
The type of accidents that occurred in 2015 included:
• Falling overboard
• Person left the vessel
[watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/watercraft-home/accidents/fatalities-2015-2019, ODNR, November 25, 2015]
Ohio has strict operation and registration laws for boaters as a way to reduce the possibility of fatalities and serious injuries. However, it is up to Ohio boaters to become familiar with and follow these laws for their own safety as well as the welfare of other boaters. Under Ohio’s boating laws and regulations, boat operators must:
• Register their boat
• Successfully complete either a boating education course approved by the
National Association of State Boarding Law Administrators or take a
proficiency exam approved by the ODNR’s Watercraft Division
• Have required safety equipment on board
• Maintain their vessel in a safe, working condition
• Not operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Must comply with any lawful order of a law enforcement officer
Boaters who commit to following the state’s boating rules and regulations are more than likely to increase their enjoyment on Ohio waterways this summer.