OHP Urges Boater Safety With Shortage Of Troopers On The Water

Friday, April 14th 2017, 5:20 pm
By: Justin Shrair

With springtime heating up boaters are gearing up for lake time, and lake patrol troopers warn boaters to be extra careful because they have a shortage of troopers on the water.

"We just want to encourage all around water safety, but we want people to be aware that if there's an event that happens, our response time may take a little bit to get there," Trooper Dwight Durant said.

That’s is because there are a limited number of troopers in the Marine Enforcement Division.

"He may be out here on the water and he gets a call that’s on this lake and he can be there in five minutes, at the same time he might be in a rain storm and somebody's boat is taking on water and it might be a lake that he has to load up and go to," Durant said.

The time they spend patrolling and responding is far from the typical nine to five workday, according to Durant.

"They're on call. If there's something that happens - whether it be in the evening, in the middle of the night in the morning during the week, on the weekend holidays - it doesn't matter, these guys are gonna respond," Durant said.

There are 24 troopers for Marine Enforcement, they patrol 34 major lakes.

Troopers said one of the best ways to protect yourself is to make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket.

Durant said alcohol is the number one related incident on the water. He said because of the shortage, boaters need to look out for one another and practice personal responsibility.

"That's the most important thing, we can come out here and we can patrol but we can't cover the entire lake. We can't watch every boater - you need to be responsible for yourself,” he said.