Safety Tips for spring boating around Put-in-Bay

Dedicated anglers know boats provide greater access to elusive yet productive Put-in-Bay fishing sites. In fact, more than 25 percent of the state's 417,000 registered watercraft are used solely for fishing, with an additional 50 percent used for fishing and general recreation, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

As warmer air temperatures lead more fishermen to take their boats out on Ohio waters, state watercraft officials urge caution as water temperatures remain colder than air temperatures. Such conditions make hypothermia a threat to those who are unexpectedly thrown in the water. The ODNR Division of Watercraft offers the following safety tips to keep summer boating outing safe and enjoyable while fishing Put-in-Bay:

  • Check the latest weather forecast and keep an eye to the sky
    Prepare for the possibility of encountering bad weather on every boat outing. Strong winds and waves brought on by bad weather increase the risks of a boater ending up in the water. If the sky looks threatening, head for the Put-in-Bay Harbor. Many spring storms move very quickly.
  • Always wear a life jacket
    A life jacket keeps a person afloat even after the shock of falling into cold water. Additionally, life jackets provide excellent insulation against cold, wind and rain. Ohio law requires that all watercraft be equipped with a Coast Guard-approved, wearable lifejacket for each person on board. Lifejackets must also be worn at all times by children under 10 years of age on boats less than 18 feet.
  • Dress for the water temperature not the air temperature
    While the days at Put-in-Bay may be warm and sunny, water temperatures stay cooler longer. One of the major causes of boating fatalities is hypothermia, the rapid reduction of body temperature, which occurs when boaters fall into cold water.
  • File a Put-in-Bay "Float Plan"
    Tell family or a trusted friend the general area of the waterway you plan to use, whom you are taking with you, when you are leaving and when you plan to return. Include information about your vehicle, boat and watercraft registration number. Remember to let that person know when you have returned safely.
  • Keep a proper lookout
    Not following this basic navigation rule is a leading cause of accidents. Always be aware of your surroundings before changing course or speed.
  • Do not overload a boat
    An overloaded boat sits lower in the water, which increases the chances of swamping or capsizing by waves. Do not exceed the carrying capacity in passengers or total gear. Keep as much weight as possible in the middle of the boat. To keep the boat riding high in the water, limit the load to only essential items.
  • Boat sober
    Alcohol and boating do not mix. Alcohol affects balance, vision, judgment and coordination, all factors of safe boating. Research has shown that when combined with boating stressors such as sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion, alcohol can impair a person on the water much faster than on land. It is illegal to operate a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Operate at a safe speed
    Boats don't have brakes, so always operate at a speed at which you are sure you can stop your boat to avoid a collision.

Fun Fact: There are so many options for kids activities while visiting Put-in-Bay. Parents can rest assured that the educational exhibits will enrich their childrens experience, without sacrificing fun in the process. Put-in-Bay is very accommodating to families, and your kids will always remember their trip to the Island. Many adults can remember coming to PIB as kids, and these fond recollections bring them back to Put-in-Bay year after year. Put-in-Bay is a close to home getaway that's perfect for the kids to play!