It’s National Boating Safety Week – May 19-25 is National Boating Safety Week, the best time of year to brush up on critical safety rules and recommendations. The campaign highlights many forms of safe boating, but focuses on the importance of wearing life jackets. In 2016, 83% of boating-related deaths occurred when the victim was not wearing a life jacket. Most of those deaths were drownings. Worse yet, two-thirds of the victims were reported to be capable swimmers. It’s simple: Life jackets save lives. Make sure to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket in good condition for you and every passenger on your boat—AND WEAR THEM. A life jacket that’s stowed won’t help you in an emergency.
To take the “Wear it” pledge, read survivor stories and get involved in this important campaign, visit www.safeboatingcampaign.com.
Onyx Adult General Purpose Vest
If you need new life jackets, here are couple we recommend. The Onyx General Purpose Vest is your best bet for an ultra-reliable and affordable jacket. Onyx routinely ranks as a top brand for good reason. They offer a wide range of high-quality products and keep their prices low, so there’s no excuse not to have your boat well stocked with fresh life jackets in multiple sizes.
Another great vest is the Stearns Adult Classic. It’s a humble and well-priced jacket that gets the job done. With an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 700 reviews on Amazon, this jacket is probably the most popular model on the market.
Boater Training and Alcohol Awareness
National Boating Safety Week Groups (from the National Safe Boating Campaign website)
Boating Safety Week also aims to promote the importance of boater training and alcohol awareness. Alcohol is the main factor in 15% of boating deaths and a contributing factor in many more. Additionally, a surprising number of drivers are not adequately trained in safe boat operation. Over 77% of boating deaths occur in accidents where the operator had no safety education. The U.S. Coast Guard (www.uscgboating.org) has great information on state boating laws, boating courses, and much more. You can even download their Boating Safety Mobile App where you can review safety checklists, file a float plan, and request emergency assistance. So please, get safety trained online or in a classroom, and NEVER operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
There’s no better time to get involved with your local boating community than Boating Safety Week. With more and more people attending events each year, it’s a great way to meet fellow boaters in your area and connect to a healthy boating community all year long.