Staying Safe

For many area boaters, the approaching Parkersburg Homecoming Festival weekend provides the perfect opportunity to relax out on the water. But a couple of recent accidents serve as reminders of the importance of staying safe and obeying the law while boating.

A Tuppers Plains couple was injured when their boat ran aground and struck a tree on the banks of the Ohio River. A Parkersburg man was hurt when his boat collided with a 15-barge tow, also on the Ohio River. Both cases are still under investigation.

“You’re getting into the season now where the weather’s actually cooperated,” said G.F. Mullins, of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

So, DNR officers will have more boats on patrol than usual this weekend, on the lookout for safety violations and reckless operation of boats. Mullins reminded that boat operators born after Dec. 31, 1986, are required to complete a boat safety education course. Children under age 12 must wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device, though, of course, it is a good idea for everyone on a boat to be wearing one.

Our area is fortunate to have so many beautiful opportunities for water recreation, and anyone who has the opportunity to take advantage this weekend should do so – responsibly.

Get familiar with boating laws and safety advice at wvdnr.org, and use common sense while out on the water this weekend and any time. It will mean a better chance of staying safe and of avoiding a run-in with the DNR officers who will be on watch.