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"Ready, Set, Wear It!": Boating Safety to Last the Summer

Photo of Randy Sorrels

This year, National Safe Boating Week comes just before summer's unofficial kick off: Memorial Day Weekend. And the three-day weekend often brings with it BBQs, bonfires and boating excursions.

In an effort to promote safety throughout the state of Texas and across the nation, the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) is sponsoring this year's safety campaign. Focused on promoting the importance of wearing life jackets, the campaign kicked off yesterday with the hope that "Ready, Set, Wear It!" would inspire boaters to join together to set a world record.

According to the NSBC, over three quarters of fatal boat accidents occur because someone drowned. In most cases of drowning (88 percent), victims were not wearing a personal floatation device. According to state-specific statistics, in 2010 Texas saw 163 boating accidents that resulted in 28 fatalities.

Federal regulations require that for each person on a recreational watercraft - from motorized boats and personal water crafts to non-motorized crafts like canoes, kayaks and rowboats- there must be an approved floatation device available. In Texas, all children under the age of 13 must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or floatation device while on a boat - even if it is docked. Also, anyone who is being towed behind a boat or Jet ski must wear a life jacket.

So, in honor of safe boating week, be sure to grab a life jacket when you hit the lake this weekend or later this summer!

Related resource: National Safe Boating Council, "Safe Boating Campaign."

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