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ODNR funds to help Marine Patrol

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Marine Patrol program has received some financial help from the state for its boater education program.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Marine Patrol program has received some financial help from the state for its boater education program.

The program received $18,060 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Watercraft Division to promote boating education programs.

Deputy Sgt. Carol Kitts, the education coordinator for the Sheriff’s Department, said the money will be used to continue the department’s education program, including the school-based program with "Splish and Splash, the Splash Test Dummies." Kitts said the program is available to all of the schools in Lawrence County. The water-safety program, Kitts said in a previous interview, allows deputies to pass the message of water safety along to children, who in turn pass the message on to their parents.

"We discovered with the seat belt program that kids make their parents follow the safety lessons they have learned," Kitts added.

The Sheriff’s Department program also conducts a boater education program that is mandatory for those born before Jan. 1, 1982 and who will operate a powerboat with an engine that is more than 10 horsepower. Kitts said another boater education program is in the works and will probably be conducted at the end of February or the first part of March.

The Sheriff’s Department was one of 31 programs in the state approved for the grant. The grant is funded through the Ohio Waterways Safety Fund, which is comprised of watercraft registration and titling fees, a percentage of the state motor fuel tax, and funding from the U.S. Coast Guard.

"Increased boater education is key to reducing boating accidents, while making Ohio’s waterways safer and more enjoyable," Jeff Hoedt, chief of ODNR – Division of Watercraft, said.

Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton was contacted for comment but calls were not returned.

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