Along with warm weather, the summer months in Chautauqua County bring several other things to the table - barbecues, beaches and boating.
As two different groups found out recently, boating carries some very real risks for operators and passengers.
At 9:32 a.m. Monday, John and Cindy Obey observed smoke coming from the engine bay of their boat on Chautauqua Lake. When they opened the engine compartment, they found that their boat was on fire. They were able to put the fire out, but needed assistance getting back to shore and were helped by the Lakewood Fire Department. A similar accident occurred on May 29, when two boaters were forced to abandon their boat and jump overboard after it caught fire about a quarter of a mile away from shore.
Firefighters respond to a recent boat fire at Smith Boys Marina.
P-J photo by Eric Tichy
A second incident, which occurred at 12:55 p.m. last Sunday, involved a tubing accident. Adam G. Fludine was tubing with friends off of a vessel being operated by Francis O'Shaughnessy when he was thrown from the tube. Fludine sustained a neck injury and had to be transported to the Westfield Hospital by the Maple Springs Fire Department.
These boating accidents all come within weeks of the tragic kayaking accidents that took the lives of two area residents and a Memorial Day boat fire that resulted in two people jumping from their burning boat and being rescued by two nearby boaters.
"Any boaters need to make sure that a qualified mechanic checks the boat over before they take it out on the lake," said Tom Block of the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office Navigation Division. "They also need to make sure that they have plenty of fuel and all of the proper safety equipment, including life jackets, before going out on the lake. If they need a boat inspection, they can contact the Navigation division and any on-duty officers will be more than happy to assist them with an inspection."
For more information about the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office Navigation division, visit www.sheriff.us and click on the "Navigation Unit" link on the left-hand side of the page. Information is offered on boating safety courses, safety laws and regulations.