The famous catchphrase from the classic TV show, “Hill Street Blues,” applies to Lake Havasu as well.  

The Lake Havasu Marine Association (LHMA), dedicated to the promotion of safe and pleasurable boating, has issued a reminder about the importance of safe boating along the lower Colorado River.

The LHMA is the recipient of the prestigious Hollister Award in 2013 from the Western States Boating Administrators Association, so it knows a thing or two about reducing accidents.

“The questionable driving practice of unsafe overtaking and passing of slower moving boats by faster boats have been a contributing factor in a number of recent accidents,” says Jim Salscheider, LHMA president and CEO.

“Drivers of performance boats have been reported taking unnecessary chances, passing too close to slower boats, running in pack formations and operating at high speeds on narrow waterways with increased frequency. This needs to stop.”

Salscheider continues, “The Lake Havasu Marine Association is not advocating or campaigning for the creation of new boating laws, restrictions, regulations or speed limits. This is a matter best handled by boaters conducting themselves with responsible behavior when behind the wheel of their boat.”

The group also reminds us that boating while intoxicated is against the law. In 2012, the group created and implemented a successful Designated Operator campaign designed to minimize as many impaired boat drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs as possible. Designated Operator is simple: Designate one person in your boating party to remain sober for the day and assume the responsibility of driving the boat.

It doesn’t mean alcohol isn’t allowed on your boat, it just asks that one person, for that one day, remain sober and in control of the safety of your passengers and fellow boaters.

Too much to ask? We don’t think so.

The group also suggests wearing your personal flotation device, especially if you think you’re going to rev-it-up and push your lake rocket to maximum speed. The law specifies that children of specific ages must wear approved personal flotation devices at all times when on board – adults don’t have to, but if there’s ever a doubt that a situation might end better with a PFD on, wear it.

Every boat should be equipped with a safety lanyard and kill switch that instantly stops the engine when pulled. However, the lanyard is useless unless it’s securely attached to the driver. Get in the habit, don’t start your engine until that lanyard is attached, the LHMA advises. For a full list of required equipment and boating laws specific to Arizona waterways, click here.

Also, taking an approved boating safety course is a good way to reinforce all safe boating practices.

Never operate a boat beyond your expertise. High speeds and limited talent at the helm are a recipe for disaster. If you have relatively few on-the-water hours behind the wheel of your boat, take it easy and don’t push your limits. Watercraft experience takes time to master. Don’t try to learn it all in one afternoon.

Giant wake-producing wakeboard/wakesport boats aren’t making a lot of friends with mainstream recreational boaters. When your wakesport boat is in its extreme wake-making-mode, be considerate of other boaters. Wakes do have consequences and damage to other boats from your wake is your legal responsibility.

The LHMA hopes to make boating as safe and enjoyable as possible. Its motto is “Freedom to Boat – but with freedom comes responsibility, for those who are on our boat and for those who we share the Lake Havasu boating experience with us. We all need to be responsible.”

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