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Holiday Boating Safety on the Colorado River

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The Memorial Day long weekend begins today, and I’m sure I’m not the only one looking forward to cookouts and some much needed relaxation.

Officials in Bullhead City, AZ are preparing for Memorial Day weekend festivities, as are those in cities and townships across Colorado. One of their main points of focus is the number of people planning to go boating on the Colorado River as part of their celebration. Daniel Callahan, staff reporter for the Mohave Daily News, shares some perspective on boating accidents in his recent column:

‘The most dangerous act I see on the water is PWCs (personal watercrafts) playing and splashing each other,’ [Bullhead City police officer Joel] Baughman said. ‘What they don’t realize is how easy it is to collide.’

According to Baughman, accidents on the water are far more life-threatening than on the roadway.

‘Automobiles have safety features, whereas boats and PWCs do not. There is no head or leg protection and the injuries are usually serious,’ he added. ‘Plus, if the victim is left unconscious in a collision, there is a chance they could drown, even with a life vest on.’

While seemingly harmeless as a pass time, boating can involve accidents with deadly ramifications, just like car accidents or motorcycle accidents. Here are some other points on boating accidents and safety that Callahan brings up in the article:

  • Drowning is the number one cause of death in boating accidents. Wear your life jackets!
  • The order of traffic for boats on a river is the same as for cars on the road. Accidents often occur when one or both boats are “driving” on the wrong side of the river.
  • Offenses while boating are more often given criminal charges than civil ones.
  • Operating a PWC under the influence of alcohol or drugs can net you up to $2,500 in fines and mandatory jail time. Not a good way to end the party.

So whether you’re on the river or the road, stay safe and have a fantastic weekend!

Image by Let Ideas Compete on Flickr, used under its Creative Commons license


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