Boating incidents a bigger concern on holiday weekend around Sewickley, region
By Bobby Cherry
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
As boaters from across the region prepare to spend time on the Ohio River over Labor Day weekend, the Coast Guard and members of its auxiliary will patrol waters in an effort to keep people safe.
Norman Arbes of the Coast Guard Auxiliary said he expects the rivers this weekend to be full of recreational boaters.
An increase in boater traffic means the number of boating-related accidents and fatalities could rise, he said.
The Labor Day weekend accounts for almost 17 percent of all boating-related accidents and deaths nationwide, Arbes said.
Not only is it the unofficial end to summer, but boaters haven't had decent waters to be out on this season, he said.
“Up until mid-July, we've had the crummiest water I can remember,” said Arbes, of Moon.
“No matter what happens up north or down south, both tributaries dump into the Ohio River.”
So weather patterns affecting areas north of Pittsburgh, such as Clarion, or points south into West Virginia can add debris to the water, he said.
Arbes said the top recommendation on safe boating is to always wear life jackets.
Statistics show 80 percent of those who die in boating incidents were not wearing life jackets, Arbes said.
Ryan Ireland is a boater who expects to be out on the Ohio River over Labor Day weekend.
The Carnegie resident spends at least two days a week on the waters — mostly fishing.
“It gets pretty busy,” Ireland said of recreational boating traffic on the Ohio River.
“Safety is very important,” said Ireland, 30, who sometimes uses boat launches in Leetsdale and Sewickley.
“With someone like me, who will be floating or stagnant,” Ireland said, other boaters can create safety concerns by speeding.
“Traffic can get heavy, and I have felt there's some people flying around with big wakes that can make me worried,” he said.
Coraopolis resident Matt Littell said speeding on the rivers bothers him.
Along with friends, the Quaker Valley High School teacher has spent about one day each week this summer on the water.
“The big thing is people going too fast near docks,” Littell said.
Arbes said too much sun, alcohol and noise can lead to boat crashes.
With an increasing number of recreational boaters, Arbes said, the Port of Pittsburgh recorded two deaths last year on the rivers — a kayaker along the Allegheny River and a Beaver County resident who was killed when the personal watercraft she was on went over the Dashields Dam in Edgeworth in May 2012.
“The number of accidents have decreased because of increased emphasis on boater education,” he said.
Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sewickley manager: More snow, more cost
- Sewickley Valley women dedicated to World Day of Prayer
- Glen Osborne family touched by outpouring of support in wake of son’s spinal-cord injury
- Missionaries’ call overshadows dangers, Sewickley Valley church leaders say
- ‘Soup for you!’ as beloved TV grump visits Sewickley
- Allentown therapist stretches to help clients, students feel better
- Ohio Township-based Family Guidance CEO follows mission, lifts at-risk youth
- The Way I See It: Stars shine — in my house, and in your community
- Search for Quaker Valley superintendent begins
- It’s fish fry time: Sewickley Valley groups, churches host fish meals
- Port Authority slightly adjusts Sewickley Valley service