U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three- fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2015, and that 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
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.
It’s important that if you’re on the water in any sort of watercraft from a canoe or kayak to a bass boat or pontoon cruiser, you should be wearing a life jacket. This is even more important if you’re water skiing, tubing or riding a fast personal jetski or other boat. A life jacket can mean the difference between just trying again to first responders conducting a recovery operation.
For nearly 90 million Americans, boating continues to be a popular recreational activity. From coast to coast, and everywhere in between, people are taking to the water and enjoying time together boating, sailing, paddling, and fishing. During National Safe Boating Week, we want to bring special attention to this pastime and remind recreational boaters of a few tips to ensure that they and their loved ones are safe and responsible while exploring our nation’s waterways.
Proper planning for a day of boating begins even before leaving the home. Getting a free vessel safety check and taking a safe boating course at the beginning of the boating season, filing a float plan with a trusted family member or friend, and checking the weather before boating are key steps to an enjoyable time boating. Every boater should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while boating. Drowning remains the number one cause of death for recreational boaters each year, and the majority of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents are not wearing a life jacket. Safe and responsible boating includes never operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and knowing basic navigation rules.
Year-round, people continue to enjoy all that our natural environment has to offer through the joy of boating. National Safe Boating Week is observed to bring attention to important life-saving tips for recreational boaters so that they can have a safer, more fun experience out on the water.
More information is available at safeboatingcampaign.com