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NASBLA urges boaters to “Wear It”

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For many, Memorial Day weekend means gassing up the boat and hitting the water. With this being National Safe Boating Week, what better time for Todd Radabaugh of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission discuss boating safety?

The National Safe Boating Council is promoting boating safety and life jacket safety by encouraging boaters to “Wear It!” during National Safe Boating Week May 16-22. Boating is a safe and fun recreational activity enjoyed by thousands every year, however, in 2009 there may still be more than 600 boating fatalities from boating accidents.

Wearing a life jacket can make the difference between life and death. According to the most-recently reported official U.S. Coast Guard statistics:

• 90 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2007.
• Drowning is the reported cause of death in two-thirds of all boating fatalities.

That’s why boating safety advocates continue to push for increased and consistent life jacket wear on the water.

“The consequences are too grim for anyone to afford to ignore the “Wear It!” message,” says Virgil Chambers, executive director of the national safe boating council, an umbrella group representing boating safety advocates throughout North America. “However, for whatever reason, every year some boaters choose to go without wearing a life jacket.

“We want to prove that life jackets not only save lives, but that today’s life jackets are comfortable, stylish and easy to wear,” says John Johnson, executive director of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). “In fact, they don’t even have to be ‘jackets’ anymore. The old-fashioned, bulky orange life jacket most people are used to has been replaced with innovative new options we want all boaters to know about, including the new inflatable styles.”

Life jackets are available in a wide variety of compact, lightweight and attractive styles suitable for constant wear. Many are partially or wholly inflatable, and resemble a wide set of suspenders or even a belt pack. Special varieties are made for anglers, hunters, skiers and other sports enthusiasts. The view the many different life jacket varieties, visit http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/choose.htm

“Life jackets today not only look cool and feel more comfortable, even on those hot summer days, but most importantly, they’re saving lives,” Chambers says.

National Safe Boating Week is part of the North American Safe Boating Campaign, which unites the efforts of a wide 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.

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The National Safe Boating Council is promoting boating safety and life jacket safety by encouraging boaters to “Wear It!” during National Safe Boating Week May 16-22.

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