(Manassas, VA) – For the annual celebration of National Safe Boating Week, held May 16-22, 2020, the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Weather Service encourage boaters to follow health and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and your local officials while boating responsibly.
This marks the 20th year that the NSBC and NOAA’s National Weather Service have partnered to share safety information for National Safe Boating Week. Boating safety information can be found at www.weather.gov/safety/safeboating-week and www.safeboatingcampaign.com/resources/2020-national-safe-boating-week-toolkit.
“We can practice social distancing using CDC guidelines while enjoying our nation’s waterways. Let’s remind everyone of the importance of wearing a life jacket and boating responsibly,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “Wearing a life jacket is the easiest safety step a boater can take, similar to wearing a seat belt when you’re in a vehicle.”
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2018, and that 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
NSBC has some boating safety tips to ensure health guidelines at www.safeboatingcampaign.com/news/tips-for-navigating-social-distancing-boating. In addition, NOAA urges boaters to think about the impact of the weather on their boating outings.
“Many people do not think about or plan for the impact weather conditions can have on their boating safety,” said Darren Wright, national marine program lead at NOAA’s National Weather Service. “It’s critical that they check the weather conditions, including water temperature, before their departure and regularly check for updates on potentially changing conditions.”
Boaters should have at least two communications devices with them when on the water that work when wet. Satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB), VHF radios and personal locator beacons (PLB) are recommended as cell phones are not reliable in emergency situations. It is also a good idea to bring a NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) receiver to keep track of weather conditions. The NWR network provides near continuous coverage for most coastal areas served by NWS offices. Typical coverage is up to 25 nautical miles offshore. The U.S. Coast Guard broadcasts coastal forecasts and storm warnings of interest to the mariner on VHF channel 22A following an initial announcement on VHF channel 16.
NSBC and NOAA are collaborating with other boating safety groups and organizations to encourage safe boating on the water throughout the 2020 boating season. The NSBC is proud to be a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, as a part of NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation initiative.
About the National Safe Boating Council
The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) is a national catalyst for recreational boating safety and organizer of the Safe Boating Campaign, with support from boating safety advocates around the world. The Safe Boating Campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information about the NSBC and its programs, please visit www.safeboatingcouncil.org.
NOAA’s National Weather Service is the official government source for weather forecasts, watches and warnings in the U.S. The National Weather Service’s marine forecasts provide timely weather information relating to U.S. coastal and offshore waters, the Great Lakes, and the open oceans to ensure the safety of life and protection of property, promote international and interstate commerce by improving the efficiency of marine operations, mitigate environmental impacts and enhance the quality of life for the United States. NOAA’s National Ocean Service provides navigation products, such as nautical charts, that protect lives, strengthen the maritime economy, and position America for the future.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.
Yvonne Pentz, National Safe Boating Council, firstname.lastname@example.org, 440-670-1294
Maureen O’Leary, NOAA’s National Weather Service, email@example.com, 301-427-9000