National Safe Boating Week: May 18-24

“The most important thing people can do to help save their own lives and the lives of family and friends while boating is to have everyone wear life jackets,” urges Jeff Burt, Flotilla Commander of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Auxiliary Flotilla 25-08. “This should be a habit like wearing a seat belt while driving, not just a Safe Boating Week resolution.” 

Though wearing life jackets is recommended, in states where no children's life-jacket law is in place, a USCG interim rule requires children under 13 on moving boats, like the girl pictured here, to wear a USCG-approved life jacket that fits. Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia regulations follow the USCG interim rule. The Coast Guard’s most recent Recreational Boating Statistics found that where cause of death was known, 76 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims, 84.5 percent were not wearing a life jacket. 

Besides promoting life jacket use the Auxiliary invites boaters to take advantage of its free Vessel Safety Checks for power boats, sail boats, jet skis and paddle craft, and to enroll in a one-day Boating Safety class if they have not already done so.