Tuesday, March 22, 2011

National Safe Boating Council Urges Life Jacket Use

Safety organization targets spring breakers and early-season boaters with an early start to their "Wear It!" campaign

The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) is trying to get a head start on curbing the number of boating accidents and fatalities this year. The NSBC today called out the top 10 states for both boating accidents and boating fatalities, and in the same press release encouraged all boaters to always wear a life jacket each and every time they are on the water. While the 2010 numbers are not officially out yet, we looked at last year's boating death rates in a couple of states recently and the numbers were grim (States Surpass Last Year’s Boating Deaths, 12/4/2010).

Starting Early
It seems like this type of messaging usually heats up just before National Safe Boating Week (May 21 - 27, 2011), which is the week before Memorial Day weekend - the traditional start of the recreational boating season. But perhaps because boating deaths and accidents are up in many states, the NSBC is spreading the word early this year with the knowledge that spring breakers and eager boaters often take to the water early.

Today's announcement also provided the following tips for safe boating:
1. No matter what activity you have planned -- boating, fishing sailing, etc. -- always remember to wear a life jacket every time you are on the water.

2. Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved. Double check that your life jacket is appropriate for your favorite boating activities.

3. Take the time to ensure a proper fit.

4. Life jackets meant for adults do not work for children. If you are boating with children, make sure they are wearing properly fitted, child-sized life jackets.

5. On recreational vessels underway, children under 13 years old must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket unless they are below decks or in an enclosed cabin. Some state laws vary -- check with your local Marine Law Enforcement Authorities.

For more safety tips, visit the official site of the National Safe Boating Council at www.safeboatingcouncil.org.

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