By Jenny Cheek
Across most of the United States, beautiful spring weather is finally here to stay and warm summer days are right around the corner. With the nice weather comes a renewed interest in outdoor activities , especially fun times on the water. Whether in a motorboat, a pontoon, a canoe, or a kayak, one thing is always true about recreational boating: using a personal flotation device – a lifejacket – significantly improves your safety on the water.
In 2012, there were 4,515 recreational boating accidents that resulted in 651 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 71% of the people who died in these accidents drowned. Sadly, 85% of those who drowned were not wearing lifejackets. That’s almost 400 people whose lives could have been saved by the simple act of putting on a lifejacket.
To help educate people about the importance of wearing a lifejacket, the National Safe Boating Council is sponsoring National Safe Boating Week, May 17-23. National Safe Boating Week is the official launch of the 2014 North American Safe Boating Campaign, a yearlong campaign to promote safe recreational boating and use of lifejackets. The campaign’s theme of “Wear It!” will be emphasized in activities in all 50 states, including social media outreach and use of bilingual public service announcements to spread the word.
In preparation for National Safe Boating Week, today has been declared National Wear Your Lifejacket to Work Day. This is a fun way to demonstrate just how easy it is to wear a lifejacket. Here at the NTSB, some of us are participating by wearing our lifejackets in the office! Even if you didn’t wear a lifejacket at your job today, we hope you’ll wear one every time you’re on the water. Lifejackets save lives … one of them could be yours.