State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced that the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office will receive a $28,035.99 Marine Patrol Assistance Grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The state grant is intended to help the local law enforcement agency provide emergency response to boating-related incidents, conduct routine waterway patrols and purchase safety equipment for use on marine patrol vessels.
“I am pleased to see that our state is funding local efforts to improve water safety in the Valley,” said Boccieri. “Local marine patrol units play an important role in preventing boating accidents and providing quick emergency responses when people are in danger on the water.”
According to ODNR, boating-related fatalities in the state have decreased since 1996 by 12 percent, dropping from 179 to last year’s 159 deaths.
“With the summer months upon us, we are reminded that water safety remains an important issue,” said Lepore-Hagan. “The Mahoning County Sheriff Office’s marine patrol units provide a very important service to our community, and this will grant will help them continue to perform their duties effectively and efficiently.”
Ohio had a record 474,601 registered recreational watercrafts last year, a growth of almost 40,000 in three years. Overall, Ohio ranks eighth in the nation in state recreational boat registrations. The current economic impact of recreational boating in Ohio is $3.5 billion.
“Home to Lake Milton and Berlin Lake, Mahoning County is a very popular tourism spot for families during the summer months,” said Schiavoni. “This state support will go a long way to ensure that the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office has the ability to continue to provide exceptional service to both residents and visitors on our waterways.”
The award is one of 24 that ODNR distributed as a part of its 2016 Marine Patrol Assistance Grant program. Grant funding allocated to local communities 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.