Boaters reminded of importance of life jackets
With Labor Day serving as one final chance for people to enjoy some summer fun on the water, the National Safe Boating Council is reminding people of an important item on their packing list: Life jackets.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 85 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents during 2012 were not wearing this potentially life-saving piece of equipment.
That is why the National Safe Boating Council is a lead organization for the Wear It! campaign, a yearlong effort in the United States and Canada focused on spreading the message of boating safety and consistent life jacket wear.
"There's no excuse not to wear a life jacket," said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. "You can still have fun on the water while wearing a life jacket and boating responsibly."
Richard VanDermark, an experienced boater and a navigation officer in Orange County, N.Y., recalls the day he went tubing with his family in 2011 when he slipped while helping his grandson onto the boat, hitting his head and falling into the water. Thanks to wearing his life jacket, his son-in-law quickly pulled him out of the water and performed CPR.
"There is no doubt in my mind that my life jacket saved my life. No matter how good a swimmer you are, you never know what will happen when you're boating," said VanDermark. "Always wear your life jacket."
The North American Safe Boating Campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
It unites the efforts of a wide variety of boating safety advocates, including the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Canadian Safe Boating Council and many members of the National Safe Boating Council.