Class teaches safety on the water - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Class teaches safety on the water

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas State University- Newport hosted a Boating Education course Thursday by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

There have been seven fatalities this year in Arkansas and Arkansas Game and Fish representatives said they all could have been avoided. July is the month when most boating accidents occur. The Boating Education class teaches the fundamentals of safe and responsible boating. 

"We would like to encourage people to boat safely and this is a good start," said Wildlife Officer, Marshall Ray. He said most boating accidents occur when someone becomes distracted and fails to practice safe habits. 

"Folks not paying attention to what they’re doing is the leading cause of boating accidents," Ray said. He also encourages boaters to know what's going on around them even if they are being safe.

"Don’t assume the other boat drivers are going to be doing everything like they’re suppose to," he said. 

Anyone born on or after January 1, 1986 must complete a Boating Education class in order to operate a motorboat. Lennell Ellis was one of nearly 30 students in Thursday's class and said taking this course is going to insure his family is safe. 

"Knowing how to operate while other boats are on the water and how to be safe and how to at this point teach other people how to be safe," he said. 

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 65 accidents were reported last year in Arkansas and 15 deaths. Ray said they are two things to keep in mind when going out on a boat: To always wear a life jacket and to know that alcohol and boating don't not mix.

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