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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
3:01 AM Sun, Sept. 23rd

2 die in accidents on Arizona waterways over holiday weekend

Two people died and four others suffered injuries in a pair of separate boating accidents on waters within or bordering Arizona during the Fourth of July holiday this past Saturday, the Arizona Game and Fish Department reports.

One person died in a multi-boat accident at Lake Pleasant while the second fatality involved a waterskier who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run boater this past Saturday on the California side of Lake Havasu.

In the Lake Havasu hit-and-run case, anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has other information regarding it should call Sgt. Clayton Bailey, Sgt. Tim Smith or Det. Jimmy Trahin of the Colorado River Sheriff's Department at 760-326-9200.

To read the full press release from the San Bernardino County (Calif.) Sheriff's Department about the case, log on to www.sbcounty.gov/sheriff/public/pressreleases/PRDetail.asp?PRID=3134.

While investigators from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department continue to probe the two accidents' causes, the Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds boaters to "Boat Safe, Boat Smart and Boat Sober."

Game and Fish officials encourage boaters to stay safe by avoiding waterskiing in congested areas, steering clear of rough water and excessive speeds while towing skiers, and rapidly retrieving one's skiers from busy waters. In addition, boaters should always travel in a counterclockwise direction while on the water.

"Boaters should keep the closest shore over their right shoulder, and they shouldn't cut blind corners where oncoming boaters can't see them," said Kevin Bergersen, state boating law administrator with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish officials say boaters can boat safe by taking a boating safety education class. Boating accident statistics indicate that more than 70 percent of all boat operators involved in boat accidents have not attended any formal boating safety education classes.

Officials add that boaters can boat sober by choosing a designated boat operator. Consuming alcohol is permissible on a boat, but the operator cannot be under the influence of alcohol to the slightest degree.

"The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for boats is 0.08 percent or higher, the same as motor vehicles," Bergersen said.

The boating fatality at Lake Pleasant was the first in Arizona this year. Two people died in boating accidents in the state during 2009.

For boating safety information, including course information, call 623-236-7235 or visit www.azgfd.gov/boating.