Boater Advisory: Delta Waterways Closed to Recreational Boating

SACRAMENTO -- DBW has issued an order to close the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta waterways to recreational boating effective immediately through 12 noon, Tuesday, January 3, 2006.

“Our primary concern is that water levels are high enough that boat traffic on the Delta waterways could cause water to flow over the levees, potentially causing damage to the levees,” said David Johnson, DBW deputy director. “ High water levels also pose substantial risk to boaters due to very swift flows and large floating debris.”

Water levels throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta system are expected to stay at a high level for the next four days, as runoff from rain locally and at higher elevations converge with high tide. The closure order, which will be updated as warranted, can be enforced by all State and local peace officers.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta includes those waterways in a triangle area formed by the City of Sacramento to the north, the City of Pittsburg to the west, and the City of Tracy to the south.

The Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW), the state's boating agency, is authorized to restrict or ban recreational boating in the Sacramento-San Joaquin during periods of high water levels to protect people and property, facilitate flood fighting, and control vessel wakes that may lead to overtopping of levees.


Memorial Day Safety Reminder

According to the Department of Boating and Waterways, one out of every four boating injuries in 2004 in California occurred during the holiday weekends of Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day. As Memorial Day Weekend approaches, DBW is issuing a reminder to boaters to stay safe on the water.

"Remembering a few simple boating rules of the road can also help keep collisions from occurring on congested waterways, said Raynor Tsuneyoshi, Director of Boating and Waterways. “Many of these rules are similar to those governing cars," said Tsuneyoshi. "Stay to the right side of channels. In a crossing situation, the person on the right has the right-of-way. When you meet another boat head-on, each boater should alter course to the right.”

According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, 85 percent of all boating fatalities could have been prevented if the victim had been wearing a life jacket. During these holiday periods, the waterways will be filled with boaters, many of whom are inexperienced. Boaters are reminded to maintain a proper lookout, wear life jackets and be aware of stressors in the marine environment that can affect judgment and cause accidents: wind, sun, glare, boat noise and vibration, and alcohol.

Many Northern California rivers will be high, fast and cold with potential for floating debris. DBW advises river boaters to carefully evaluate river conditions before entering the water and remain alert for rapid changes in water speeds and levels.

DBW recommends that children wear life jackets even while wading near lakes or rivers and that all boaters wear life jackets while underway


Bumper Spring Snow Melt Will Make Rivers High, Fast and Ice Cold

Boating Alerts & Notices: 2004


Boating Advisory--Carbon Monoxide and Boats

The California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) issued a boater's advisory today, warning about the danger of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in boating.

In California, three boaters have died from boating-related CO poisoning over the past two years. Nationwide, as of November 2003, there were 503 boating-related carbon monoxide deaths and non-fatal poisonings. Of these accidents, 493 occurred between 1990 and 2003, six occurred in the 1980s. Thirty-four of the poisonings occurred in California. Carbon monoxide statistics may actually be higher, as some deaths may have been attributed to other causes, such as intoxication or heart attack.

"Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and it may be surprising that it can be a danger in the open-air environment," said DBW Director Ray Tsuneyoshi. "That's why we're trying to get the word out, to save lives."

A new fad that has taken a toll nationally has made its way to California: "teak surfing" or "drag surfing". This activity involves clinging to the swim platform or transom of an underway boat, then letting go and body surfing. In addition to the danger of propeller injury, teak surfers risk drowning.

Exposure to engine exhaust can cause a teak surfer to faint and, if not wearing a life jacket, to drown. Many boaters are aware that carbon monoxide is a danger in enclosed spaces when using on-board generators, heaters and stoves. But the gas can also accumulate in areas around and under a motorboat's swim platform. Testing on late model ski boats has measured 90-1,000 ppm. According to the World Health Organization, a level exceeding 87 ppm during a 15 minute interval is considered dangerous. Boaters should avoid boat engine exhaust vent areas and not swim in these areas when the engine or generator is operating.

The symptoms of CO poisoning may include severe headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, fainting and death. Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea, and mild headache. Low levels can be more dangerous in the boating environment as they can lead to drowning. Carbon monoxide poisoning may not be immediately suspected since symptoms may be similar to those of the flu, food poisoning, or other illnesses. If CO poisoning is suspected, get the victim fresh air immediately and seek medical care.

For a pamphlet on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning on and a warning decal, visit www.dbw.ca.gov, call toll-free (888) 326-2822, or write to Department of Boating and Waterways, 2000 Evergreen Street, Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95815.