By Debbie Hersman
Today kicks off National Safe Boating Week. Summer is swiftly approaching, and it’s time to have some fun. Boating on a sunny day . . . it’s really a joy to spend time in a kayak, a boat, or on a personal watercraft. Maybe go parasailing or water skiing. But don’t forget to put safety first.
At the beach, I have noticed a common trend . . . both tourists and locals like to have fun on the water. What I’ve also observed, unfortunately, is that many do not wear life jackets. They are probably so focused on fun that they do not imagine how something can go wrong. So let me share with you a few facts about why you need to make safety a priority.
In a typical year in the United States:
- Over 700 people die in boating accidents.
- Almost 75 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drown—and of those who drown, 84 percent are not wearing a life jacket.
- Eighty-six percent of boating accident deaths occurs on boats where the operator had received no boating safety instructions.
- Alcohol is the leading factor in 16 percent of boating deaths.
So, be smart and take the following safety steps:
- Be cool, wear your life jacket.
- Remember, alcohol use and boating do not mix. Be responsible, do not drink and go out on the water.
- Finally, be proactive by taking a boating safety course.
The NTSB wishes you and your family a safe and wonderful boating season