Sheriff's increase patrols on Lake Martinez

Boat Safety

Yuma County Sheriff Deputies are increasing boat patrols out on Lake Martinez as more people head to the lake as the weather heats up.

"I want to ensure everyone comes out here and has a great time and everybody leaves with their fingers and toes. I want to enforce safety, safety, safety," Yuma County Sheriff's Deputy Matthew Hipp says.

Hipp spends his office hours on this patrol boat. His job is to make sure everyone is staying safe while having fun. Kids 12 years of age and under are required to wear a life vest while on a boat, along with making sure anyone operating a boat is not under the influence.

"I don't always write tickets on everything but I will educate the public," said Hipp.

Some of Arizona's top boating violations include not enough life jackets on a boat, no fire extinguisher or riding on the bowel.

"Bowel riding, which is a misdemeanor offense. What I've been seeing every time I pull over a vessel. They're coming in trying to follow my commands a lot of time they're not able to follow my commands. I'm thinking they might be intoxicated or something," said Hipp.

Hipp is one of many working to ensure safety to prevent any water related deaths.

"Canyon Lake has the highest death fatality and Lake Pleasant usually has quite a few as well," said Deputy Hipp.

Although he says it's been several years since Lake Martinez has had a fatality.

"Boat safe, boat sober and also get on the Arizona Game and Fish website. They have a boaters safety course you can take and learn a little bit about the water and the navigational rules," said Deputy Hipp.

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