Celebrate on the Water and Be Safe!

By Debbie Hersman

Always wear a PFD while on the water.

Philadelphians recognized the first 4th of July anniversary with a spontaneous celebration. Almost 100 years later, on June 28, 1870, Congress made Independence Day a federal holiday. This year, many of us will spend time with family and friends over the July 4th weekend at our nation’s rivers, lakes or the seashore.  Unfortunately, our investigators know that many accidents occur during high exposure times when the volume of traffic is increased and people are celebrating.

When it comes to accidents on the water, nothing is more crucial to survivability, especially for children, than wearing a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD).  Unfortunately, far too many people leave their PFDs in the storage compartment of their boats.  In 2010, almost three-fourths of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and 88 percent of those individuals were not wearing a life jacket.  Boater education is another effective way of staying safe.  Congratulations to the state of Nebraska for strengthening its law to require all boaters to take a safety course.

Here are some quick reminders to keep in mind while you are on the water this weekend:

  • Use a life jacket when aboard a recreational boat and be sure that children always wear life jackets. 
  • Complete a recreational boating safety course approved by your state.
  • Review tips on how to dock, use, and operate your watercraft, and make sure your boat maintenance is up to date.
  • Don’t put yourself or others at risk by boating while intoxicated.
  • Refresh your memory about about aids to navigation before entering the water.
  • Lastly, have fun

For valuable resources, information, and education about boating safety and PDFs visit http://www.SafeBoatingCampaign.com.

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