Date of Graduation

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Tom Paradise

Committee Member

Van Brahana

Second Committee Member

Jason Tullis

Keywords

Geospatial, Beaver Lake, Hazards, Risk Perception, Boating accidents

Abstract

Accidents and deaths occur regularly on lakes and waterways due to natural phenomena as well as human error and recreation. People use lakes and waterways as sources of recreation, but do not always act responsibly on the water. During summer 2013 and winter 2014, over 100 surveys were administered in Beaver Lake, Arkansas to local and federal agencies regarding their knowledge and perception on accident locations and causes. These surveys were conducted in English and approved by the university after being tested on peers. The surveys included demographic data sex, income, education, as well as Likert-scaled responses. Research was also conducted using online newspaper resources and data provided by the Little Rock, Arkansas Game & Fish Board on accident locations and causes. The surveys were compiled and analyzed spatially and graphically to compare the perceptions provided by the respondents to actual accident records.

Agency Reports divulged that men were most often the operators of the boats (82%) and that the more experienced boaters were more likely to be involved in an accident; this information differed from the perception surveys. Most of the people surveyed viewed men as less culpable (44%) or were noncommittal in their responses (39%) in comparison to the records that show men were responsible for 82% of the accidents. Men were also the majority of deaths in 2013 (83%). Lastly, the outcome of this study showed that most agencies were familiar with the areas they were closest to but disregarded other portions of the lake even though they were all included in the jurisdiction. The majority of agency employees believe that policies should be enforced on the lake and that the water safety was excellent despite actual records.

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