COLUMBUS—State Senator John Eklund
(R-Munson Township) recently announced that the Lake County and Portage County sheriffs' offices will receive a combined $52,544 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to support local marine patrol units. Provided by the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft, these assistance funds represent a continuing effort to keep Ohio waterways safe and enhance recreational boating experiences.
"These grants are important for our community, and I am glad to see our local law enforcement receive funding to help keep our waterways safe," said Eklund.
In total, $572,366.87 was awarded to 23 recipients across the state. For the full list of 2019 Marine Patrol Grant Funding Levels, click here
The 2019 Marine Patrol Assistance Grants will help local law enforcement agencies provide emergency response to boating-related incidents, conduct routine waterway patrols and purchase safety equipment for use on marine patrol vessels.
In 2018, Ohio had a record 573,400 registered recreational watercraft, a growth of more than 82,000 in three years. Over the last decade, there has been a 218 percent increase in kayak and canoe registrations (including liveries). Overall, Ohio currently ranks eighth in the nation in state recreational boat registrations.
“Keeping boaters safe on Ohio’s waterways is a top priority,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Reinvesting boater dollars in local communities through marine patrol grants allows us to support law enforcement safety initiatives throughout the state.”
As the number of visitors to Ohio’s lakes and rivers increases, Marine Patrol Assistance Grants are vital to ensuring the safety of Ohio’s boaters. Boating-related fatalities on Ohio waterways have declined by 14 percent since 2009.
The Division of Parks and Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating and scenic rivers programs. The funding to support local marine patrol units comes from the state’s Waterways Safety Fund, which is comprised of the state motor fuel tax, watercraft registration and titling fees, as well as funds provided by the U.S. Coast Guard.