Manassas, VA (March 21, 2016) – Many people enjoy recreational boating and fishing in the spring. Yet, what looks like a perfect day can quickly become hazardous if you end up in frigid water. The annual Wear It! boating safety campaign reminds spring boaters to take extra precautions.
“Situations on the water can escalate quickly, and wearing a life jacket not only gives you peace of mind to control an emergency situation but can also save your life,” said Rachel Johnson, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, the lead organization of Wear It!
Life jackets are available in inherently buoyant or inflatable styles. Inflatable life jackets rely on CO2 cylinders that provide buoyancy when inflated versus inherently buoyant life jackets that use foam or other buoyant materials to stay afloat.
“Inflatable life jackets give boaters no more excuses – they’ll still have mobility and flexibility for water activity while wearing the right gear,” continued Johnson. “Regardless of the life jacket chosen, Wear It!”
Wear It! offers spring boaters tips before they hit the water:
- Prepare your boat by scheduling a vessel safety check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.
- Know the latest marine weather forecast and dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.
- File a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip and emergency contacts.
And, once on the water:
- Make sure everyone – even experienced swimmers – wears a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket appropriate for the water activity.
- Follow navigation rules, such as maintaining a proper lookout and safe speed.
- Never boat under the influence. Alcohol is responsible for 21 percent of boating fatalities.
- Keep in touch. Cell phones, satellite phones, emergency position radio beacons, VHF radios and personal locator beacons can all contribute in an emergency.
- Don’t panic if you fall into the water. Stay afloat with the help of your life jacket, regain control of your breathing, keep your head above water in vision of rescuers, and stay with the boat if possible.
Wear It! unites the efforts of a wide variety of boating safety advocates and is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. Follow Wear It! at facebook.com/safeboatcampaign and twitter.com/boatingcampaign. Visit safeboatingcampaign.com.