Utah State Parks Blog

Labor Day Weekend Safety Tips

Sept. 2, 2021

Kodachrome Basin State Park

SALT LAKE CITY — Labor Day Weekend is right around the corner, and many Utahns are looking to head out to experience Utah’s great outdoors.

Utah’s state parks are the perfect places to hike, swim, boat, paddle, water ski, and ride off-highway vehicles. Before you hit the trail — or the water — it is important to take the time to ensure you and your friends and family recreate safely and responsibly.

Safety practices to always keep in mind include:

  • Telling someone where you are going and when you will return
  • Taking a friend or buddy along with you
  • Checking the weather, fire restrictions, and current conditions at the park before getting on the road
  • Packing an emergency kit
  • Bringing a cell phone, radio, or other devices to help you communicate with others in an emergency

Along with these above tips, there are additional safety practices to remember when you are out boating/paddling on the water or riding an OHV on the trails or dunes. Check them out below.

Boating Safety

  • “Life Jackets Save Lives!” – Nationally, 80% of people who drowned in boating accidents could have survived had they been wearing a life jacket. Life jackets are required to be worn at all times by children under the age of 13. You must also have one properly-fitted, US Coast Guard-approved life jacket onboard for each person.
  • When operating above a wakeless speed, you must stay 150-feet away from all other boaters, swimmers, docks, anglers, etc.
  • Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is NO DIFFERENT than driving your car under the influence.
  • Education courses are always a great idea. Youth between the ages of 12-17 are required to take the mandatory youth PWC education course before operating.
  • Learn more about Utah’s boating laws, rules, and education here.

Off-Highway Vehicle Safety

  • Wear Your Helmet! We advise everyone to wear a helmet. It can save your life. Properly worn, a helmet won’t reduce vision or hearing and helps cut out windblasts.
  • A helmet is mandatory on public land for riders under the age of 18.
  • Gloves, abrasion-resistant clothing, and over the ankle boots are also highly recommended.
  • Be alert to oncoming traffic, especially on blind curves or in dips and crests of hills.
  • It is illegal to drive an OHV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • A red or orange “whip flag” must be attached to OHVs when riding in sand dune areas.

Anyone under 18 can operate an OHV on public land (no longer an 8-year-old minimum age requirement) if they are:

  • Able to reach and operate each control necessary to safely operate the off-highway vehicle and;
  • Have in their possession an OHV education certificate or a valid Driver’s License and;
  • Under direct adult supervision

Learn more about OHV safety, laws, and rules here.

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