Coast Guard Auxiliary patrolling Ohio River to keep boaters safe

CINCINNATI -- With the weather heating up and National Safe Boating Week coming up next week, the Coast Guard Auxiliary was out in the Ohio River Saturday to check on boaters.

Members of the Guard were performing vessel safety checks and making sure boaters had items like fire extinguishers, navigation lights and life jackets.

Chief Petty Officer William Harris was also reminding boaters they're sharing the river with up-to-1,200-foot towboats, which can be dangerous to those not mindful of them.

"Tow boats, their tows are very large. I compare it to a train. They don't stop on a dime," he said. "You definitely don't want to drive in front of them. You want to stay well clear of them. They can't stop, so if something happens and you fall in the water near them, they're not going to be able to stop in time."

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, according to the Coast Guard. And 83 percent of people who drown out on the water are not wearing a life jacket.

Check out the Coast Guard Auxiliary's website for more information.

They'll be out patrolling to summer to make sure boaters are following safety laws.

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