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National Safe Boating Week Kicks Off This Weekend

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Boating Safety Advocates Remind Boaters to ‘Wear It!’ During National  Safe Boating Week, May 18-24

Life jacket wear is one of the most effective and simple life-saving strategies for safe recreational  boating

(Washington, D.C.) – With summer fast approaching, families and friends are anxious to enjoy time in the sun and on the water – boating, fishing, paddling and more. During all recreational water activities it’s important to remember safety precautions.

But, with approximately 500 people drowning each year from recreational boating accidents, it is imperative to spread the message of responsible boating and a simple life-saving strategy – “Wear It!” – wear a life jacket at all times on the water.

Vermilion Parish Sheriff Marine Division
Vermilion Parish Sheriff Marine Division

Together with boating safety advocates, the National Safe Boating Council reminds boaters of the importance of boating safety, such as life jacket wear, boating sober, knowing navigational rules, and having a proper lookout during the 2013 North American Safe Boating Campaign. The yearlong effort kicks off with National Safe Boating Week recognized in the United States and Canada from May 18-24, 2013.

This year during National Safe Boating Week and throughout the campaign the National Safe Boating Council will highlight stories of real boaters whose lives were saved by wearing a life jacket.

“Simply put, boating responsibly and wearing life jackets can saves lives,” said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “Accidents on the water happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. It’s important that everyone consistently wears a life jacket while on the water.”

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2011, and that 84 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.

“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,” said John Johnson, chief executive officer of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. “Innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allow mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting, and are much cooler in the warmer weather.”

Today’s life jackets are comfortable, stylish and easy to wear. In fact, they don’t even have to be ‘jackets’ anymore. Old-fashioned, bulky orange life jackets have been replaced with new varieties of life jackets, like inflatable life jackets that may resemble a pair of suspenders or a belt pack. Many inflate automatically when immersed in the water.

“Tell your family and friends to ‘Wear It!’ each and every time they are on the water,” continued Chambers. “Have fun on the water this summer, make memories, and stay safe.”

The North American Safe Boating Campaign unites the efforts of a wide variety of boating safety advocates, including the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Canadian Safe Boating Council and many members of the National Safe Boating Council. The campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. Partners hold local events, teach classes, offer on-water training, distribute educational materials and perform free vessel safety checks, among other activities.

Be sure to follow the campaign on Twitter at twitter.com/boatingcampaign and Like Us at facebook.com/SafeBoatCampaign. Share your boating story at SafeBoatingCampaign.com.

 About the National Safe Boating Council

 The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) is the foremost coalition for the advancement and promotion of safer boating through education, outreach, and training. The NSBC accomplishes this mission by promoting outreach and research initiatives that support boating education and safety awareness; improving the professional development of boating safety educators through training; and developing and recognizing outstanding boating safety programs. Visit SafeBoatingCampaign.com for campaign materials and additional safe boating resources.

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