Guest Commentary: A reminder for boaters: ‘Wear it!’

Life jacket safety is theme for May 16-22 boating safety season kick-off

The Marco Island Sailing and Power Squadron is promoting boating safety and life jacket safety by encouraging boaters to “Wear It!” during National Safe Boating Week May 16-22.

Boating is a safe and fun recreational activity enjoyed by thousands every year, however, in 2009 there may still be more than 600 boating fatalities from boating accidents.

Wearing a life jacket can make the difference between life and death. According to the most-recently reported official U.S. Coast Guard statistics:

- Ninety percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2007.

- Drowning is the reported cause of death in two-thirds of all boating fatalities.

That’s why boating safety advocates continue to push for increased and consistent life jacket wear on the water.

The consequences are too grim for anyone to afford to ignore the ‘Wear It!’ message. However, for whatever reason, every year some boaters choose to go without wearing a life jacket.

Life jackets not only save lives, but today’s life jackets are comfortable, stylish and easy to wear. In fact, they don’t even have to be ‘jackets’ anymore. The old-fashioned, bulky orange life jacket most people are used to has been replaced with innovative new options we want all boaters to know about, including the new inflatable styles.

Life jackets are available in a wide variety of compact, lightweight and attractive styles suitable for constant wear. Many are partially or wholly inflatable, and resemble a wide set of suspenders or even a belt pack. They not only look cool and feel more comfortable, even on those hot summer days, but — most importantly — they’re saving lives.

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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