MILTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) — Anyone planning to boat on area lakes this Fourth of July weekend should remember to keep safety in mind.
The holiday brings out lots of boaters soaking up the sun and fun, but it also can be a dangerous time if boaters are not following the rules. Marvin Timms of Akron was boating on Lake Milton on Thursday.
“How do I stay safe? I make sure I have the proper equipment, for one thing,” Timms said.
That includes having properly fitting life jackets for every person on board. Those operating power boats need a fire extinguisher as well as an anchor and a line to anchor the boat.
They also should have a visual distress signal with a sound producing device.
Shawn Boerio of Boardman said boaters always have to be aware of their surroundings.
“You know, it gets a little crowded sometimes. You just got to be careful and keep your eyes out for other people and you know, the kids on the jet skis like to hit the boat. You kind of have to watch out for them,” Boerio said.
Lake Milton’s fire department is on standby for any problems this weekend. Chief Harold Maynard said for the most part, boaters are responsible.
“The biggest thing we deal with is inattention to other people. They are not aware of other boaters, especially when you get into crowded areas. They just need to keep a distance from other boaters, watch the wake from other boats,” Maynard said.
Officer Dave Ford with the Division of Watercraft Enforcement said officers will be on the lookout for impaired boaters.
“The injury accidents and fatalities tend to go up on these holiday weekends. It’s very nice weather, and there is alcohol consumption,” Ford said.
Between 2009 and 2013, there were 33 boating accidents on area lakes, two of which were fatal at Mosquito Lake in Trumbull County.
In 2012, there were 199 boating accidents across the state of Ohio.