Boating death prompts high patrol for Labor Day weekend

SAGUARO LAKE, AZ - A man struck and killed by a boat propeller on Roosevelt Lake two weeks ago has boat officials on high alert this Labor Day weekend.

Deputy Rob Marske with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department has been patrolling lakes for six years. Over the years, he has seen all sorts of violations.

"Some people get to the lake, launch they're boat. They're so excited to get out here. They'll throw the throttle down, and get out to the main bay as quick as they can. Many times not paying attention," said Marske.

Marske said it's common for those excited boaters to violate simple boat safety rules and regulations, the practice becoming more frequent on the waters is bow-riding. Bow-riding involved someone sitting on the front of a boat, putting them at risk of falling off the bow and being struck by the boat's propeller.

"Bow riding is very dangerous. It can lead to broken bones and lacerations. What happens is the driver slows down too fast and the person rolls forward into the water in front of the boat. Leaving in harms way of the propeller," said Marske.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard's incident report from 2012, the number of bow-riding incidents have gone up from 2011 to 2012. This year in Arizona, there have been three deaths due to bow-riding. It's a practice Marske is hoping to eliminate all together.

"It's an exciting day to come to the lake. But we see that excitement and fun come to a tragic ending real quick," said Marske.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's office will be patrolling with a DUI task force on Lakes throughout the Valley for Labor Day weekend.

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