Wearing a life jacket is the simplest life-saving strategy for safe boating. Boating safety advocates across the U.S. and Canada have teamed up to promote safe and responsible boating, including consistent life jacket wear every time boaters are on the water, during National Safe Boating Week, May 21-27.
National Safe Boating Week is the launch of the 2016 North American Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, “Wear It!”
“What looks like a perfect day for boating can quickly become hazardous if you end up in the water,” said Rachel Johnson, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, the lead organization for Wear It! “You can have a great time while choosing to always wear a life jacket and being a responsible boater.”
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2014, and that 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
“Each year hundreds of people lose their lives, and they may still be alive if they had been wearing a life jacket,” said John Johnson, chief executive officer of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. “You never know when there may be a boating mishap, so it’s important that everyone onboard always wears a life jacket.”
New life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting, and are much cooler in the warmer weather.
Throughout the campaign, Wear It! will remind boaters of the importance of boating safely, including consistent life jacket wear, boating sober, knowing navigational rules and having a proper lookout. Partners will host local events, teach classes, offer on-water training, distribute educational materials, and perform free vessel safety checks.
Wear It! unites the efforts of a wide variety of boating safety advocates, including the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and Canadian Safe Boating Council with the National Safe Boating Council. It is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. Follow Wear It! on Twitter at @boatingcampaign, like on Facebook at facebook.com/safeboatcampaign, and share your boating story at www.safeboatingcampaign.com.