ORLANDO, Fla., April 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — With new and used boat sales soaring to record highs in 2020 to first-time boat buyers, boating safety stakeholders are taking extra measures to communicate and promote safe boating messages prior to the Memorial Day holiday — the unofficial launch of the summer boating season.
“The pandemic literally saw hundreds of thousands of newcomers join the ranks of first-time boat owners, so we’re taking extra precautions to pro-actively share safe boating strategies,” said Water Sports Foundation Executive Director Jim Emmons. “We’ve identified a dozen top tips for keeping boaters safe that we believe can positively impact boater safety while maximizing enjoyment on the nation’s waterways over this holiday season, and beyond.”
#1 – Education & Essential Equipment
Before launching your boat, be sure you are confident and comfortable at the helm following successful completion of a boating safety education course. If you haven’t done so already, enroll in a boating class taught by certified boating safety instructors, preferably with curriculum that meets approved American National Standard for on-water skills training.
There are many live, virtual and hybrid boating safety education classes available through the U.S. Coast Guard auxiliary, Power Squadron/America’s Boating Club and any number of private boating education providers. For a list of educational resources, check out the National Boating Safety Media Resource Center: Boating Safety Education – Water Sports Foundation.
Besides safe boating operation, check your equipment prior to departure to ensure all is in proper working condition. Make sure you are competent to operate a VHF radio, and if possible, an EPIRB or personal locator beacon.
#2 – Life Jackets Save Lives – Wear Them!
Drowning is the cause of death in 79 percent of fatal boating accidents where the cause of death was known; 86 percent of those drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.
Make sure your boat is equipped with U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets for all passengers and they are sized to fit: Choosing the Right Life Jacket – Water Sports Foundation. There are many attractive styles and designs now available for different types of boating activities. Check your state law regarding life jacket usage and age requirements for children: NASBLA Life Jacket Requirements by State and Age.
#3 – Don’t Drink and Drive!
When you mix sun, wind, water and waves with alcohol, you create a dangerous situation that can lead to disaster. According to U.S. Coast Guard reports, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 23% of deaths.
For the safety of your friends and family, we recommend avoiding alcohol altogether while boating, or at the very least, taking the pledge and designate a “Sober Skipper:” Video: Designated Sober Skipper – Family – Water Sports Foundation.
To access all 12 boating safety tips, social media post and accompanying photo/graphic, click: https://www.watersportsfoundation.com/12-top-boating-safety-tips/.
About the Water Sports Foundation
Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., the Water Sports Foundation (WSF) is the non-profit educational arm of the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA.net). The WSF National Public Relations Outreach including this press release is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
WATER SPORTS FOUNDATION COMMUNICATIONS TEAM/CONTACTS:
Wanda Kenton Smith Marilyn DeMartini Joel Staley
407-697-8055 954-649-4904 407-242-9994
SOURCE Water Sports Foundation