Boating safety advocates across the U.S. and Canada are teaming up to promote safe and responsible boating, including consistent life jacket wear each and every time boaters are on the water, during National Safe Boating Week, held from May 17-23, 2014.
National Safe Boating Week is the official launch of the 2014 North American Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, Wear It!
“Every day I hear about the grim consequences of not wearing a life jacket while boating,” said Rachel Johnson, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, the lead organization for the Wear It! campaign. “You can still have fun on the water while choosing to always wear a life jacket and boating responsibly.”
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2012, and that 85 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.
“Accidents on the water happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket,” said John Johnson, chief executive officer of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. “It’s important that everyone consistently wears a life jacket while on the water and always boats responsibly.”
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 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.
This year during National Safe Boating Week and throughout the year, the campaign will highlight stories of real boaters whose lives were saved by wearing a life jacket. In addition, the campaign will remind boaters of the importance of boating safely, including consistent life jacket wear, boating sober, knowing navigational rules and having a proper lookout.
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.