As the weather starts to warm up, we’re all anxious to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Families and friends gather together to enjoy the outdoors, travel on vacation and spend time on the water – boating, fishing, sailing, and more. During National Safe Boating Week May 19-25 and throughout the year, it’s important to remember the safety precautions to take during all of these recreational water activities.
With approximately 500 people drowning each year from recreational boating accidents, it is imperative to spread the word – “Wear It!” Wear your life jacket at all times while you are on the water.
“Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket,” said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “It’s important that everyone wears a life jacket while on the water. There's no reason why you, your family and friends, can't have fun on the water while also choosing to always wear a life jacket.”
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2010, and that 88 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. That’s why boating safety advocates continue to push for increased and consistent life jacket wear on the water.
“A life jacket can't save your life unless you ‘Wear It!’” said John Johnson, executive director of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). “Today’s life jackets are comfortable, stylish and easy to wear. In fact, they don’t even have to be ‘jackets’ anymore. The old-fashioned, bulky orange life jacket most people are used to has been replaced with innovative new options we want all boaters to know about, including the new inflatable styles. There are even life jackets for our four-legged friends!”
Life jackets are now lighter, less obtrusive and more attractive than ever before. The new inflatable life jackets allow the mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting and are much cooler in the warmer weather. There are many different varieties of inflatable jackets ranging from those that inflate instantly when submerged in the water to those that are manually inflated. All are designed to be more comfortable and wearable than the traditional life jacket.
“Make sure your time on the water with family and friends is filled with splashes and smiles,” continued Chambers. “No matter the water activity or life jacket style chosen – and always remember to ‘Wear It!’”
Visit www.safeboatingcampaign to learn more.