Boating officials remind recreationalists of cold water hazards
As air temperatures warm up and ice melts off the reservoirs, Utah State Parks boating officials remind everyone to be aware of the dangers of sudden spring storms and cold water temperatures.
"You never know when you might end up in the water. Life jackets not only keep you afloat, but provide an extra layer of warmth," said State
"The combination of additional heat and flotation might mean the difference between life and death," says Utah State boating coordinator Dave Harris. "Wearing a life jacket can also aid in self-rescue, providing you with extra time to climb back into your boat."
He reported that if someone fell into 40-degree water, they would start losing movement in arms and legs within a few minutes and would probably not survive more than 30 minutes.
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 a boat is in operation, and it is recommended that all boaters wear a life jacket at all times.
"Always tell someone your boating plans including where you are going and what time you will return," says Harris. "Remember to check local weather conditions. Sudden spring storms occur quickly, and often are accompanied by severe winds."
And with the warm weather in store for weekends Utah State Park off-highway vehicle (OHV) managers remind everyone to ride safely and responsibly and to be sure all riders are properly trained and prepared, and ride in a responsible manner.
Utah State Parks urges parents to enroll children in a "Know Before You Go!" training course, which is required by Utah law. By passing this course, drivers eight through 16 may legally operate an OHV. Drivers 16 years and older must have a valid driver's license or OHV education.