WATERCRAFT PATROLS RESUME AS OHIO�S BOATING SEASON GETS UNDER WAY|
Watercraft officers patrolled a record 31,951 hours in 2004
COLUMBUS, OH - More than 60 state watercraft officers have returned to seasonal patrols of state waterways and boat launch ramps as Ohio�s recreational boating season gets under way, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
�We have an increased presence of patrol officers on state waterways compared to just five years ago, which helps ensure boating safety on the water and a reduction of boating accidents and fatalities,� said Ken Alvey, chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft.
Early season enforcement focuses on the problem of overloading - a leading cause of fatal boating accidents and the subject of �Operation Overboard,� a boating safety awareness campaign aimed at preventing swamping and capsizing.
Last year, Ohio reported 143 boating accidents and a record-low seven fatalities. State watercraft officers conducted more than 70,000 watercraft inspections and logged a record 31,951 patrol hours on the state�s waterways in 2004. The U.S. Coast Guard and local marine patrol units assisted in this and other watercraft safety efforts.
�We have a significantly greater presence on Ohio waters as a result of strong partnerships with other agencies and increased funding, manpower, training and equipment,� said Alvey.
Ohio ranked eighth nationally last year, with 414,938 registered watercraft. More than 3 million Ohioans enjoy recreational boating each year.