Child Dies After Boating Accident Near Navajo Canyon

NAVAJO CANYON, Arizona – National Park Service Dispatch at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area received a report on Sunday, September 17, 2017, at approximately 5:20 p.m., of an accident in which a six-month old boy received major head trauma. It was reported the accident happened when a houseboat was trying to dock on a beach in the area of Navajo Canyon, approximately 12 miles from Antelope Point Marina. Reports are that when the boat struck the beach an adult fell on the child. The vessel had 13 people on board, including several small children.

National Park Service Rangers were patrolling in the area at the time of the incident and responded immediately. While transporting the infant by boat to Antelope Point Marina, emergency first aid was provided, including rescue breaths and chest compressions. With the assistance of the Page Fire Department, the child was transported to the Page Hospital for further evaluation.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Page Hospital to conduct an investigation into the incident. The child was flown to the Salt Lake City Children’s Hospital. During the early morning hours of September 18, the child was pronounced dead. The family resides in Bluffdale, Utah.

This incident is under investigation by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, the National Park Service and the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.

Boat explosions at Lake Havasu highlight crucial role of proper ventilation systems

PHOENIX — The occurrence of two boat explosions two days in a row at Lake Havasu is an important reminder of the crucial role of ventilation systems, which work to remove flammable gases. Properly installed ventilation systems greatly reduce the chance of a life-threatening explosion.

A properly functioning ventilation system circulates air through the engine and fuel tank compartments to remove fuel vapors from the bilge. A best practice to follow is to always open an inboard engine compartment and let it air out before starting an engine — this allows you to smell for gasoline fumes.

Before going out on the water, check your ventilation hoses in the engine compartment. In a passive system the fresh air enters higher in the compartment to force gasoline vapor out through the lower hose. In a powered ventilation system the blower should be on the exhaust hose so any gasoline vapors are drawn away from the engine rather than introducing fresh air to the engine compartment if the blower was on the intake side.

“When considering repairs on your boat remember that marine-rated parts like starters, alternators or generators are designed to limit spark exposure, that’s why they are more expensive than standard automotive parts,” said Tim Baumgarten, boating law administrator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Resist the urge to replace engine parts with automotive parts because they are cheaper.”

According to The Boater’s Guide of Arizona:

  • All gasoline-powered vessels constructed in a way that would entrap fumes must be properly and efficiently vented to remove the fumes. It is recommended that at least one intake duct extend from a point midway to the bilge or below the level of the carburetor air intake, and at least one exhaust duct extend from the open atmosphere to the lower bilge.
  • If your vessel is equipped with a power ventilation system, turn it on for at least four minutes in either of these situations: after fueling and/or before starting the engine.
  • If your vessel is not equipped with a power ventilation system (for example, a personal watercraft), open the engine compartment and sniff for gasoline fumes before starting the engine.
  • Regularly check the ventilation ducts for obstructions, such as birds’ nests. Make sure you can feel air coming out of the cowl when the ventilation system is turned on.

A great resource for information is the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Boating Safety Education program. The department’s free courses include instruction on the basic skills required to safely operate a boat or personal watercraft, trailering your vessel, navigational rules, buoys, anchoring, legal requirements and boating emergencies. Upcoming courses and information can be found online at www.azgfd.com/Education/Boating/.

Public comment sought on draft recreational boating compatibility determination for Havasu National Wildlife Refuge

LAKE HAVASU CITY — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft recreational boating Compatibility Determination (CD) for the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge System that is available for public review and comment.

The process began in 2015, and a previous draft CD was released in April 2016 and withdrawn after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided more deliberation was required. A copy of the revised draft CD is available online at: www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/HavasuBoatingCD-Draft-July_2017.pdf

The public comment and review period is open for 30 days: August 1-30, 2017. To be part of the record, comments must be submitted in writing and be received on, or postmarked by, August 30, 2017.

Send written comments to:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
Attn: Draft Recreational Boating CD Comments
317 Mesquite Avenue
Needles, CA 92363

Comments also may be emailed to: havasu_comments@fws.gov

A public Listening Session is scheduled for Aug. 17, 2017. Details of that meeting will be posted at www.fws.gov/refuge/havasu/ once they are available.

“Public participation in this process is important to ensure future recreational activities on the Refuge offer quality experiences for all visitors while meeting the purpose of the Refuge,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, frequently asked questions, maps and other information will be posted soon at: www.fws.gov/refuge/havasu/

Game and Fish officers keep Arizona’s waterways safe as part of Operation Dry Water

PHOENIX — Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) officers made contact with hundreds of boaters the weekend before the Fourth of July as part of Operation Dry Water, a national awareness and enforcement campaign that targets people who are operating a boat or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Alcohol is a top factor contributing to recreational boater deaths, and the initiative’s goal is to increase safety on Arizona’s lakes and rivers and reduce the number of fatalities and injuries.

This year’s weekend of enhanced enforcement took place June 30 to July 2, in advance of the Fourth of July, which fell on a Tuesday. During those three days AZGFD officers stopped 812 boats, 74 of which had a designated driver. Three arrests were made for operating watercraft under the influence, 94 citations were written, and two individuals were arrested for driving motor vehicles under the influence. Statewide, 89 AZGFD officers participated in the initiative.

The lakes and waterways patrolled were: Lake Havasu, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Pleasant, Lake Powell, Apache Lake, Bartlett Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake and Roosevelt Lake, as well as Bullhead City and Parker Strip along the Colorado River.

AZGFD has been participating in Operation Dry Water since the initiative began in 2009. AZGFD partners with local agencies on the effort, which is done in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Although the legal limit for operating a boat in Arizona is .08 blood-alcohol content, an operator is in violation of the law and may be prosecuted for operating a watercraft while impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol and/or drugs.

While on the water, boaters should also keep in mind:

State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while onboard and that each passenger must have a properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Drowning is the most common cause of death in boating incidents — always wear your life jacket.
Anyone being towed by a boat or on a personal watercraft, such as a Sea-Doo or Jet Ski, must wear a life jacket.
Know the “Rules of the Road.” Navigation rules identify who has the right of way and determine the required direction of travel.
Never allow passengers to board or swim while the engine(s) are running. A boat’s propeller can still be spinning while the motor is in neutral. Always make sure no one is near the propeller before starting the boat’s engine.
Paddle boards, kayaks and canoes are considered watercraft and users are required to have a wearable personal flotation device onboard while on the water. These watercraft must also follow the same navigation laws pertaining to all watercraft.

For more information on boating safety or to sign up for a boating education course, visit www.azgfd.com/Education/Boating/.

Life jacket exchange events taking place Saturday, July 8

PHOENIX — Have an old, worn out life jacket? Swap it for a new one. From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 8, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is holding life jacket exchange events at four locations throughout the state:

Lake Pleasant — 10-lane boat ramp
Canyon Lake — main ramp
Lake Powell — Wahweap Marina
Lake Havasu City — Windsor Beach

During the exchanges, people with old, worn and less-effective life jackets can swap them for a new life jacket, while supplies last.

It’s important that boaters check to ensure that all of their life jackets are in good condition and that they are the right size and fit for passengers. On average in Arizona, life jackets should be replaced every five years.

“While state law requires that anyone 12 and under must wear a life jacket when out on the water, it’s a good idea for all boat and watercraft users to wear one,” said Josh Hoffman, Boating Safety Education coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Wear it. Don’t just store the life jacket on your boat to check the box.”

New life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting and are much cooler in the warmer weather.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported that in 2016 there were 4,463 recreational boating accidents, involving 701 deaths nationwide. In cases where the cause of death was known, 80 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned and of those, 83 percent were not wearing a life jacket. In Arizona, there were five deaths from boating accidents last year.

“Wearing a life jacket could very well save your life,” Hoffman said.

For more information on boating safety or to register for a hands-on or online safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating and click “Boating Safety Education.”

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office joins Operation Dry Water to raise awareness about dangers of boating under the influence

PAGE – The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in Operation Dry Water as part of a nationally coordinated effort to increase knowledge about the dangers of boating under the influence (BUI). The goal is to reduce the number of accidents and deaths associated with alcohol and drug use on our waterways.

Operation Dry Water weekend, June 30-July 2, is the national weekend of amplified enforcement of boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is reaching out to our community and to the entire recreational boating community as part of the yearlong Operation Dry Water campaign to inform and educate boaters about the hazards and negative outcomes associated with boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Recreational boating is a fun and enjoyable activity. Consuming alcohol while on the water can hinder that experience and create a dangerous scenario for you, your friends and family, and others on the water. Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water just as is does when driving a car, even more so because of the added stressors of sun, heat, wind, noise and the vibrations of the boat. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office wants everyone to have a great summer on the water, and to do that you’ve got to stay safe and stay sober while underway.

As Operation Dry Water weekend and Independence Day approaches, law enforcement will be out on the water educating boaters about safe boating practices and removing impaired operators from the water. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office supports these efforts as they go a long way in ensuring the safety of recreational boaters and water sport enthusiasts.

Tips to staying safe on the water:

  • Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths*. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
  • Wear your life jacket. 83% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket*.
  • Take a boating safety education course. 77% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction, where instruction was known*.

Boaters can take the pledge to boat safe and boat sober, and find more information about boating under the influence at operationdrywater.org.

Life jacket exchanges tomorrow help kick off ‘Boating Safety Week’

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department and agencies across the U.S. and Canada will join forces to promote life jacket use and boating safety as part of National Safe Boating Week.

The annual event begins Saturday, May 20 and ends Friday, May 26. To help mark the occasion, the department’s Boating Safety Education program will hold Life Jacket Exchange events from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the 10-lane boat ramp at Lake Pleasant; Canyon Lake boat ramp; Saguaro Lake boat ramps; the London Bridge Beach at Lake Havasu City and Katherine’s Landing at Lake Mohave.

During the exchanges, people with old, worn and less-effective life jackets can swap them for a new life vest, while supplies last.

“Boating in Arizona can offer great experience for everyone on the water, but only if it is done safely and responsibly,” said Josh Hoffman, AZGFD Boating Safety Education coordinator. “While time on the water can be fun, it can quickly turn dangerous if you’re not prepared. National Safe Boating Week serves as a reminder to all boat and watercraft users to always wear their life jacket. It could very well save your life.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also helped to kick off Safe Boating Week, by issuing a proclamation, encouraging the public to be safe while on the water.

“Year-round, people continue to enjoy all that our natural environment has to offer through the joy of boating. National Safe Boating Week is observed to call attention to important life-saving tips for recreational boaters so that they can have a safer, more fun experience out on the water,” the proclamation states.

National Safe Boating Week marks the launch of the 2017 North American Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, “Wear It!”

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2015, and that 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

“Each year hundreds of people lose their lives in boating incidences, and they might still be alive if they had been wearing a life jacket,” said Rachel Johnson, CAE, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, the lead organization for the North American Safe Boating Campaign. “It’s not enough to just own a life jacket and store it on a boat, you must wear it,”

New life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting and are much cooler in the warmer weather.

“Completing a boating safety course is also an important step to being a safe boater or watercraft user. Educated boaters are safe boaters,” Hoffman said. “Luckily the Arizona Game and Fish Department offers free boating safety courses.”

For more information on boating in Arizona or to sign up for a free safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating. Those registering for an online safety course through BOATERExam.com can receive $10 off during Safe Boating Week by using the promo code NSBW17.

AZGFD to participate in multi-agency OUI checkpoint on Colorado River

KINGMAN — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) will participate in a multi-agency enforcement patrol this weekend on the Colorado River, pursuing those who are operating their boats and other watercraft while under the influence (OUI) of drugs or alcohol.

AZGFD, together with the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the National Park Service, will be enforcing Arizona’s OUI legal limit of a .08 blood-alcohol content.

Throughout the weekend, boaters may be required to pass through a checkpoint and be subject to a systematic safety inspection. Operators will be checked for any sign of impairment from alcohol or drugs, and to ensure the required safety equipment, such as proper life jackets and working fire extinguishers, are aboard.

“The responsibility for boating safety among watercraft users is critically important,” said Brandon Carley, law enforcement supervisor for the department’s regional office in Kingman. “The area is growing quickly, and we share these waterways with California and Nevada. It’s becoming very congested, which lends itself to more potential hazards.”

Carley advises boaters and watercraft users should review all regulations prior to launching. That includes having a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every person on board and making sure that anyone 12 and under is wearing one at all times. Boats also must be equipped with a fire extinguisher and a Type IV throwable personal flotation device (PFD).

For more information on boating in Arizona, or to sign up for a free safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating.

AZGF Commission approves proposed boating and water sport rules, fees


PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Commission recently approved several boating and watercraft regulation changes aimed at increasing customer service and public safety on Arizona’s waterways.

The commission approved the changes at its April 7 meeting, amending the state’s Article 5 rules, which outline boating and water sports regulations and fees. The proposed changes will now be considered by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council on June 6 and, if approved, will become effective Aug. 5.

The proposed changes were recommended as part of a legally required five-year review of the department’s administrative rules. For more information or to view the complete list of proposed Article 5 changes, visit www.azgfd.com/agency and click on “Rulemaking.”

The following are among the proposed changes:

Requiring a signature be notarized/witnessed when the seller is not listed as the owner on the current registration or the signature of the buyer or seller is in question.
Allowing owners to obtain a duplicate watercraft registration/decal at www.azgfd.gov/boating.
Increasing the valid timeframe for a temporary certificate from 30 to 45 days and allowing a watercraft agent to issue a temporary certificate with the sale of a used watercraft.
Requiring liveries to affix a placard on the watercraft indicating the business name and phone number, and requiring a person who rents, leases or offers a watercraft for hire to register as a livery.
Requiring a wake surfer to wear a personal floatation device and that an operator ensure an observer is watching if a person is being towed behind the watercraft and/or surfing a wake created by the watercraft.
Prohibiting teak surfing, which is pulling a person from a vessel’s swim platform.
Requiring towing companies to notify the owner/lienholder that they have taken possession of a vessel within 15 days of obtaining the information from the department.
Authorizing a third-party vendor to process new watercraft registrations, transfers, renewals and duplicate registrations.

The following fee changes are also proposed:

Watercraft transfer fee to $13
Duplicate decal and certificate number fee to $8
Dealer certificate of number fee to $20
Establish an abandoned/unreleased watercraft application fee of $100
Transfer of ownership of a towed watercraft application fee to $100

For more information on boating in Arizona or to sign up for a safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating.

Multiple quagga mussel-fouled watercraft from Arizona intercepted out of state

PHOENIX — Following the recent interception and impoundment of multiple quagga mussel-fouled watercraft that had been in Lake Powell or Lake Havasu for extended periods, the Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds boaters to “clean, drain and dry” – and especially decontaminate — their watercraft and equipment before exiting waters designated as having aquatic invasive species.

Five vessels from Arizona waters have been impounded during the past month — three in Idaho and two in Colorado.

“There is absolutely no reason why boaters are not decontaminating moored boats before leaving a quagga mussel-infected water,” said Chris Cantrell, AZGFD’s Aquatic Wildlife Branch Chief.

AZGFD recently contracted with a local business to provide free decontaminations for those with boats that have been on a quagga mussel-infected water for more than five consecutive days.

If a boater plans on selling or moving a boat from one of the infected waters, please call AZGFD at (623) 236-7608 or Woods to Water Wildlife Solutions, LLC at (602) 920-4891.

“This way, we can help assist you with the required decontamination to ensure you stay compliant with multiple state and federal laws,” Cantrell said.

Quagga mussels colonize rapidly on hard surfaces and can ruin recreational watercraft motors, alter water quality for aquatic wildlife, and clog water intake structures such as pipes and screens, thereby impacting pumping capabilities for power and water treatment plants.

Under Arizona law, boaters and all recreationists who take watercraft and other equipment out of waters designated as having aquatic invasive species must use the following steps when leaving that listed water:

  • CLEAN. Clean/remove any clinging material from the anchor, boat, motor and hull, trailer (all plants, animals and mud).
  • DRAIN. Remove all water drainage plugs (and keep them out during transport). Drain the water from the bilge, live-well and any other compartments that holds water. Drain the water from the engine and engine cooling system(s). You can do this by lowering the outboard, while on the ramp, until the water is removed.
  • DRY. Ensure the watercraft, vehicle, equipment, or conveyance is allowed to dry completely before placing in another water in Arizona. Leaving your plugs out during transport will assist in ventilating and speeding the drying time of those difficult-to-dry areas of your boat.

See a flyer of how to clean, drain and dry.

There are additional steps to complete for watercraft that have been on AIS-listed waters for six or more consecutive days. See more information on all statewide decontamination protocols, how to schedule a no-fee decontamination, an intro to invasive quagga mussels, and the Director’s Orders lists of aquatic invasive species and waters.

If you are in need of decontaminating your moored boat before transporting from an AIS-affected water, please contact AZGFD at (623) 236-7608.