Here's how to set sail safely on the Ohio River this summer

Posted at 4:30 AM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 06:43:07-04

CINCINNATI -- Our position on the waterfront means that good, old-fashioned nautical living is closer than the Atlantic coast, but Northern Kentucky authorities want boaters to be cautious before they hit the Ohio River in the coming months.

If you aren't prepared, your Instagram-perfect boating session could take you a lot farther from home than you planned. We're talking "out of this mortal coil" far.

"The river is not very forgiving," district commander Charles Phillips said. "If you don't have your equipment together and you have a collision out here, you increase your chances of not surviving that." 

Before sailing away, Phillips said, boaters need to have noisemakers, fire extinguishers, a flotation device, lights, proof of the boat's registration and - of course - life jackets on board.

"I don't think I've ever worked on an accident where the people that were wearing life jackets drowned," Phillips said.

Officer Christon Cornett recommended that boaters who plan to voyage on the Ohio River take a test-paddle on calmer waters first.

"If you can find another lake where there is not so much current, you can go out on that and get a feel for your boat," Cornett said.

You can also get a helping hand from Cornett and his colleagues in the form of a safe boating class. You can learn more about these classes in Ohio and Kentucky online.