WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Fourth of July celebration is right around the corner and is a popular time for boaters to get out and enjoy being on the water with family and friends. But, with approximately 500 people drowning each year from recreational boating accidents, it is imperative to always boat responsibly, including wearing a lifejacket, being alert and aware while on the water, and obeying navigation rules.
The National Safe Boating Council (www.safeboatingcouncil.org/) (NSBC) is encouraging all boaters to take the “Safe Summer Pledge” this July 4. The pledge allows boaters to share with their family and friends their dedication to boat safety and wearing a lifejacket each and every time they are on the water. The pledge can be signed and shared via your social networks by visiting www.safeboatingcampaign.com/camp-pledge.htm.
“Every year, thousands of boaters enjoy being out on the water during July 4 celebrations, and for some people, it may be the only time they get on a boat the entire summer,” said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “We encourage boaters to share their commitment to safe boating and the ‘Wear It!’ campaign by taking the pledge. It is important to follow boat safety and wear a life jacket each and every time you are on the water.”
In addition, the NSBC is looking for safe summer boating stories through Labor Day weekend. Whether silly or serious, boaters can submit personal stories of safety and be entered for a chance to win a summer prize package. Stories may be submitted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or online by visiting www.safeboatingcampaign.com.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2011, and that 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing lifejackets. That’s why boating safety advocates continue to push for increased and consistent lifejacket wear on the water.
“A lifejacket is one of the easiest ways you can save your life in case of emergency,” Chambers said. “With the variety of today’s comfortable, stylish lifejackets for any recreational water activity, there’s no excuse not to ‘Wear It!’ this summer.”
The North American Safe Boating Campaign unites the efforts of a variety of boating safety advocates, including NASBLA, the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the 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, distribute educational materials and perform free Vessel Safety Checks, among other activities.
From the July 4-10, 2012, issue