Boaters and anglers in “endless summer” locations may know no boating season, but many on-water aficionados often mark their first launch with the U.S.’s Memorial Day. At that same time, boating safety organizations and advocates across the U.S. and Canada team up to promote safe and responsible boating, including consistent life jacket wear every time boaters are on the water. These groups spread life-saving messages with a yearlong outreach to promote voluntary, consistent life jacket wear.
Access to water-based activities is a priority for outdoor recreationists, whether they are spending free time near home or on vacation. Discover Boating resources suggest great getaways are a boat trip away with ways to get out on the water even for those who don’t own a boat: Rentals, charters and peer-to-peer options offer opportunities to enjoy boating. To find those options, visit http://www.discoverboating.com/get-on-the-water.aspx.
The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation compiles an annual list of Best Family-Friendly Places to Fish and Boat, a collection of publicly accessible gems. These aquatic resources can be found at TakeMeFishing.org/best-places-to-fish. An interactive map shows where those who want to wet a line can do so near or away from home.
Wearing a life jacket is the simplest life-saving strategy for safe recreational boating. Each year hundreds of people lose their lives, and they may have survived by wearing a life jacket. 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. Additional statistics can be found at http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/resources/boating-safety-facts/.
New life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the dated bulky orange styles. 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. Find more detail at http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/resources/life-jackets/.
In addition to consistent life jacket wear, boating sober, knowing navigational rules and having a proper lookout are life-saving practices. National Safe Boating Council partners (www.safeboatingcouncil.org/) host local events, teach classes, offer on-water training, distribute educational materials, and perform free vessel safety checks.
For the media, BoatBeat/Media Toolkit is a national online resource that provides recreational boating information, state and federal resources, and numerous other media assets in one location. Issues and tips are provided for lifevests, boating under the influence, emergency locator beacons, engine cutoff switches, safe boating courses, vessel safety checks and more. It’s a collaborative effort with support from the National Safe Boating Council, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Access the resources at http://boatbeat.org/.