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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Caution Urged As Boating Season Begins In Utah

Ice has melted from many Utah reservoirs and boats are being launched on the open water. Fishermen man many of the boaters and fishing is very good at this time of year. The water is still very cold and so most people are not yet engaging in other water sports.

Officials are urging caution because of the cold water, and because of windy, stormy conditions.

High-elevation reservoirs and still frozen and some mid-elevation waters still have floating ice.

Four boating mishaps have been reported during the past few days. Utah State Parks provided the new release below:

FOUR WEEKEND BOATING INCIDENTS SHOW DANGERS OF SPRING
BOATING, IMPORTANCE OF WEARING LIFE JACKETS

Salt Lake City – Utah State Parks Boating Program Manager Dave Harris
reported warm weather brought many boaters to our waterways this past weekend,
but rapidly changing weather, cold water and unprepared boaters resulted in at
least four incidents where rangers rescued boaters.

The first incident occurred at Utah Lake where rangers responded to two kayakers
who were caught in strong winds and having difficulty returning to shore. Neither
kayaker was wearing a life jacket.

A second incident involved a man who fell overboard into the 40-degree waters of
Deer Creek Reservoir. The victim was rescued by Deer Creek State Park Rangers,
and treated and released by local medical personnel.

The other two incidents occurred on Willard Bay. State Park Rangers responded to
one vessel carrying two adults and two children that had broken down and was
pushed up on the dike by strong winds. The second incident involved a 12-foot boat
that capsized in strong winds tossing three people into the water. Only one had a life
jacket. Fortunately the boat capsized close to the dike and all three were able to
swim to safety.

“You never know when you might end up in the water. Wearing a life jacket not only
keeps you afloat, but provides an extra layer of warmth. The water you are boating
on this time of year was ice or snow just a few short days ago,” said Harris. He
added that average water temperatures in northern Utah are around 40 degrees.
“The combination of additional heat and flotation might mean the difference
between life and death,” reported Harris. “Wearing a life jacket can also aid in self rescue,

providing you with extra time to climb back into your boat.” Harris said
statistics prove the importance of wearing life jackets. Three of four people who
drowned in boating accidents would not have died had they worn a life jacket.
State boating law requires all children 12 years of age and younger to wear a life
jacket while boating and it is recommended that all boaters wear a life jacket at all
times.

For more information or to take a boating safety course, stateparks.utah.gov or call
801-538-BOAT. Utah Boaters…WEAR IT!

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