May 11, 2023
PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is urging all who recreate on Arizona’s waters to wear a life jacket, follow safety regulations and laws, as well as designate a sober operator.
So far in 2023, three people have lost their lives boating in Arizona. In 2022, boating accidents claimed the lives of 13 people, injured 60 more, and caused $1 million in damages.
“A life jacket does exactly what it says — it saves your life when you need it,” said Danny Rodriguez, watercraft law enforcement programs coordinator. “However, it can only save your life if you’re wearing one, and often it’s too late to put one on once you realize you need it.”
According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, in cases where the cause of death has been determined, 86% of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket. AZGFD once again is stressing the importance of wearing a life jacket and focusing on safe boating practices as another busy boating season gets underway.
To promote the use of life jackets, as well as kick off National Safe Boating Week (May 20-26), AZGFD and partner agencies will begin a series of summer life jacket exchange events. Those who have an old, worn out, or improperly fitting life jacket will be able to exchange it for a new one, free of charge (while supplies last).
“Like anything else, life jackets wear out with time, and these exchange events are a great opportunity for Arizona’s boaters and paddlers to ensure they have a life jacket that not only fits correctly, but is in great condition and ready should they need it,” said Josh Hoffman, boating safety education coordinator.
Exchange locations Saturday, May 20:
- Bartlett Lake: Jojoba Ramp, 8 a.m.-noon.
- Canyon Lake: Main Ramp, 8 a.m.-noon.
- Lake Pleasant: 10-Lane Ramp, 8 a.m.-noon.
- Saguaro Lake: Main Ramp, 8 a.m.-noon (also May 21, if additional life jackets are still available).
- Tempe Town Lake: Marina, 6-11 a.m.
- Patagonia Lake State Park: Marina ramp, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Bullhead City Fire Department: Rotary Park, 2315 Balboa Drive, Bullhead City, 9-11 a.m.
- Eagle Motorsports: 2106 AZ-Hwy 95, Bullhead City, 9 a.m.-noon (also every third Saturday each month through August).
Exchange locations Saturday, June 3:
- Parker, AZ: La Paz County Sheriff’s Boating Safety Building, 8484 Riverside Drive, Parker, AZ, 9 a.m.-noon.
Exchange locations Friday, June, 9:
- Bullhead City Recreation Building, 2285 Trane Road, Bullhead City, AZ 9-11 a.m.
Exchange locations Saturday, June 10:
- Lake Havasu City: London Bridge Beach Stage, 1340 McCulloch Blvd. N., Lake Havasu City, 10 a.m.-noon.