A 14 year old boy from Tucson, Arizona was seriously injured during a boating accident on Lake Powell on Monday, June 18, 2012.  Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies assigned to boat patrol responded to Navajo Canyon on Lake Powell where the accident was reported to have occurred. 

During their investigation, deputies learned that the victim sustained two serious lacerations to his right leg from a boat propeller while knee boarding at about 9:30 a.m. Monday morning. While attempting to re-enter the boat, it is believed that a portion of the child’s shorts became lodged in the moving propeller, resulting in two lacerations to the boy’s upper right leg and side.

Fortunately, a medical doctor, who was recreating nearby, provided on-scene medical assistance and recommended that the victim be transported by helicopter for immediate medical care. The victim was air-lifted from Navajo Canyon to Page Hospital by Classic Lifeguard Helicopter where he was treated for his injuries. Sheriff’s deputies are continuing the investigation.

Here are some tips to make your boating experience safer and more enjoyable.

Be weather-wise

Always check local weather conditions before departure – TV and radio forecasts can be a good source of information. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds, or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water.

Follow a pre-departure checklist

Proper boating safety means being prepared for any possibility on the water. From compliance with fire safety regulations to tips for fueling up, following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been forgotten.

Use common sense

One of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times, especially in crowded areas. Be alert at all times, and steer clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there for one reason only – to ensure your own boating safety.

Develop a float plan

Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else know your float plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone. A float plan can include the following information: name, address and phone number of trip leader; name and phone number of all passengers; boat type and registration information; trip itinerary; and types of communication and signal equipment onboard.

Make proper use of

lifejackets

The majority of drowning victims of boating accidents were found not to be wearing a lifejacket. Make sure that your family and friends aren’t part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each member of your onboard team with a lifejacket – prior to departure.

Avoid alcohol

Practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved. Studies have also shown that the affect of alcohol is exacerbated by external effects such as sun and wind.

Learn to swim

If you’re going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety means knowing how to swim. Local organizations such as the American Red Cross and others offer training for all ages and abilities – check to see what classes are offered in your area.

Be aware

Boat operators must be aware of swimmers and skiers who are in the water either near or in the path of their craft. Operators need to caution swimmers who are near their craft about the dangers of a moving propeller and the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Take a boating course

Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need be familiar with boating safety rules of operation. You can learn boating safety rules by taking a local community course, or there are online tutorials to help educate novice boaters.