September 22, 2011

Waterfowl hunters urged to take boating safety precautions

   Waterfowl hunting season has arrived in Idaho. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) urges all waterfowl hunters to wear life jackets and take necessary safety precautions when on the water.

   Nationwide last year, 15 hunters lost their lives in boating accidents. Eleven victims drowned because they were not wearing life jackets.

   Falls overboard and capsizing are the most common types of fatal boating accidents for hunters, said Dave Dahms, IDPR Boating Program Manager. Adhering to Idaho Boating Laws and following simple safety guidelines can help to prevent unnecessary tragedy.

   Idaho Boating Laws and Safety Guidelines:

- Idaho boating laws requires all vessels to have at least one U.S. Coast Guard approved and properly sized life jacket for each person on board.

- Wear properly fitting life jackets while on the water, especially when in transit or when the weather turns bad. Small boats combined with limited visibility and high winds can be hazards to safe navigation.

- Vessels are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and in periods of restricted visibility such as fog or heavy rain.

- Be aware of the capacity of your boat and be careful not overload vessels. Many duck boats are small and they can easily be overloaded with hunters, dogs, and gear.

- Be prepared for changes in the weather and dress accordingly.

- Learn about the dangers of hypothermia and cold water immersion and how to safeguard yourself and your boat passengers. Cold water robs the body of heat 25 times faster than cold air.

   Understanding the need for waterfowl hunters to wear camouflage patterns, manufacturers of inflatable life jackets have designed inflatable life jackets in a wide variety of popular patterns. Take a few minute to check out the availability of inflatable life jackets. They are comfortable and affordable. Wearing a life jacket could save your life.

   For additional boating safety tips, or to learn more about recreation in Idaho, visit

Sportsmen's Report sponsored by John and Lorraine Weiland

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11320 U.S. Highway 12, Orofino--208-476-5418

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