The 2012 National Safe Boating Week campaign kicks off Saturday, May 19 with Coast Guard Auxiliary units promoting recreational boating safety around the nation. The campaign, which runs through May 25, is dedicated to helping boaters understand the need for boating education and Vessel Safety Checks, as well as the importance of wearing life jackets while boating.
“National Safe Boating Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on the safe operation of boats on the water. The incidents we study bring home the need for simple safety precautions while underway,” said Coast Guard Auxiliary National Commodore Jim Vass.
According to a study by the National Association of the Boating Law Administrators, total fatalities in 2010 dropped to 672, the lowest number on record. The study also found that almost 75 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, 88 percent were not wearing a life jacket. There were 3,153 injuries and approximately $35.5 million dollars of property damage in 2010 as a result of unsafe recreational boating. Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and alcohol rank as the top five contributing factors in accidents.
“We encourage everyone to wear their life jackets and use a ‘kill switch’ while boating, “ Vass said. “Frequently, we see young children in life jackets, but their parents are not wearing them. All of us need to wear a life jacket to protect ourselves and set a good example for others. I wish the boaters of America a safe boating season.”
Coast Guard Auxiliary flotillas around the country will host special events to reinforce the safe boating message during NSBW, including free vessel safety checks at local marinas, boating safety classes and other special events.