UPDATE 5/27/13 @ 6:50 p.m.
RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Eight people involved in a boating accident have been released from hospitals in Ohio and West Virginia.
The crash happened Sunday on the Ohio River by Buffington Island near Ravenswood.
The accident has many boaters recognizing the dangers on the water.
"You need to just make sure everything's in working order before you get on the water," boater Rob Dunlap said. "Don't wait until you get to the water to figure out something's wrong."
The Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer boating season, and Department of Natural Resource officials have tips for you to stay safe on the water.
Officers say the safety checks really start before you leave the dock and even before you put your boat in the water. They say it's important to take your time to protect yourself and your passengers.
Your boat has to be registered with the state where you live. It's also important to use fresh fuel before launching your boat. Officers remind you to put in all necessary plugs to keep your boat afloat.
Patrolling the Ohio River, DNR Senior Conservation Officer Danny Dolin has seen it all. One of the common mistakes he says boaters make is drinking and operating a boat.
"Alcohol is very dangerous on the water, especially consuming alcohol throughout the whole day," Dolin said.
That puts you, your passengers and boaters like a father and son fishing duo at risk.
"You know it's a relaxing good time, we really enjoy it," boater Kevin Postalwait said. "It's a good way to spend an afternoon, good family, enjoyable fun."
On the water you need one life jacket for every person in your boat. Children age 12 or under are required to wear a life jacket at all times. The life vests must be U.S. Coast Guard approved.
Officers say it's important to be aware of your surroundings and never anchor in a channel where there may be river traffic.
Other necessary and required items include a loud horn, a life preserver that can be thrown easily and a charged fire extinguisher.
"Every item on that boat that's required is so important because just at that moment's time when you need that item and you don't have it, is when fatalities occur, people may drown or get hurt," Dolin said.
"We have life jackets for everybody and fire extinguishers are fully charged," Dunlap said.
Take it from a responsible captain, like many, paying attention to avoid tragic consequences and wanting to bring their crew safely to shore after a day of fun in the sun are crucial.
Police received calls about two boats crashing about 3 p.m. Sunday. At least eight people are believed to be hurt, one with serious injuries.
Emergency crews rushed to the scene near Buffington Island not far from Ravenswood, West Virginia.
Ted Waller of Sugar Grove, Ohio, was nearby moments after the crash.
“We thought maybe they had just been broken down but the closer we got we saw it appeared to be a wreck,” Waller said.
Waller said when he approached the two groups, passengers complained of injuries to the face, the hip and one person said he believed his arm was broken.
“It was just something you don't want to see but the main thing was to get them out of the water and get them to shore and get them some medical attention,” Waller said.
Police are investigating the cause of the accident.
“It seems at this point that one boat was parked and another boat hit the parked boat,” said Jim Thaxton an officer with the Division of Natural Resources.
Waller said Sunday was the first time he helped rescue someone.
“I'm sure they would have done it for us if the situation would have been turned,” Waller said.
Police said those injured are from both Ohio and West Virginia and are being treated at hospitals in Charleston, Parkersburg, Jackson County and Meigs County.
It happened about 3 p.m. Sunday near Buffington Island, which is just north of Ravenswood.
Dispatchers say two boats collided and several people were thrown into the water.
It's unclear if anyone has been hurt.
Emergency crews from Ravenswood and Meigs County, Ohio are working to get everyone out of the water.
We have a crew on the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.
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