Labor Day weekend is approaching, marking the end to the summer boating season for Hoosiers and the beginning of hunting seasons in the state. With that in mind, Indiana conservation officers are encouraging boaters and hunters to stay safe and revisit safety plans as we transition from one season to the next.
While on the water, the best way to stay safe is to wear your lifejacket, according to Indiana Boating Law Administrator Lt. Kenton Turner. He said lifejackets continue to be the best way to keep drowning statistics low and state waterways safe. According to the United States Coast Guard, 85 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents died because they were not wearing life preservers.
Another boating safety issue is boating while intoxicated, but statistics this year show an increase in vigilance as only 92 boating while intoxicated cases have been reported compared to 160 last year. With the number of drownings and boating while intoxicated incidents down, it appears that boaters are working to be safer on the water.
Now, hunters are preparing to take to the woods and fields and conservation officers are urging them to be aware of their surroundings and fellow hunters. All hunters born before Dec. 31, 1986 are required to pass a hunter education course and it is encouraged that all hunters enroll in these courses to learn proper hunting safety techniques.
In 2012, Indiana recorded 42 hunting accidents with 28 falls from elevated stands and 12 firearm discharge accidents with one fatality. So far in 2013, there have been three hunting incidents involving a firearm discharge and one fall from an elevated tree stand with one fatality.
Follow these links to view two tree stand safety videos created by Indiana conservation officers.