SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – With summer in full swing and record-breaking temperatures coming up this week, plenty of people will be hitting Utah’s water bodies enjoying their boats and personal watercraft.
According to Utah’s Division of Natural Resources, nationally, 80 percent of people who drown in boating accidents would have survived had they been wearing a life-jacket. There are plenty of other ways to stay safe on the water too so, here are eight things the DNR says you need to know before you go boating in Utah.
Wear your Life Jacket!
Utah law requires all boats have at least one wearable U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board. Life jackets must be accessible and fit properly. If there are boaters under the age of 12, they must wear their life jacket whenever the boat is in operation.
If you are being towed on any device behind a boat or a personal watercraft, you must wear a life jacket. When people are on rivers with any kind of vessel, including inner tubes, they must wear a life jacket as well.
The state says that education for boats and PWC for all ages is highly recommended. Utah requires a mandatory youth certification course for PWC.
Don’t Drink and Drive:
Boating under the influence is the same as driving under the influence. The same penalties such as suspension of a driver’s license, possible jail time and fines still apply. Alcohol is allowed on boats but whoever is operating the boat cannot be under the influence.
Keep the Speed Limit:
Yes, even on the water there are speed limits!
Remember to keep a wakeless or idle speed in designated areas. Wakeless speeds also apply to whenever boats are within 150 feet of another boat, a person in the water, fisherman, ramp, dock or designated swimming areas.
Tow People Safely:
When towing people behind your boat, there must be an observer (at least 8-years-old) on board with the driver to watch and communicate with the person being towed.
The observer must also have a 12″ x 12″ orange flag to display when the tower is finished and waiting to be picked back up by the boat. Towing is not allowed at night.
Watch your Weather:
Always be sure to watch your weather before you head out boating. Be sure to pay attention to any lightning and high winds heading your way.
Beware of Carbon Monoxide and Propeller Injuries:
Carbon Monoxide poisoning can occur when boating. Carbon Monoxide -also known as the silent killer- is a gas that is odorless and tasteless. It depletes a person’s oxygen to the point of death. Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning while boating include: headache, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion and blurred vision.
Avoid severe injuries while boating by turning off your engine when people are in the water near your boat. If your boat is equipped with an engine cut-off switch lanyard, ensure it is attached to the driver of the boat.
What to do if there is a Boating Accident:
If you are involved in a boating accident…stay calm! Other things to do if you are ever involved in a boating accident include: Helping others if you are able to, exchanging contact information, notifying law enforcement, not leaving the scene and submitting an accident report.