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The National Safe Boating Council and its partners are kicking off the annual Safe Boating Campaign the weekend before Memorial Day with National Safe Boating Week held May 18-24, with important safety reminders for boaters as the busy boating season gears up.

“We are excited to join forces with partners around the world to encourage everyone to wear a life jacket when on the water and always boat responsibly because the best boating experience is a safe boating experience,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council.

In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 658 deaths in the U.S. from boating incidents, with 75 percent of those deaths caused by drowning. Of those deaths, 85 percent are reported as not wearing their life jackets.

“Wearing a life jacket is the simplest safety step a boater can take, just like a driver wears a seat belt in a vehicle,” continued Phillips.

National Safe Boating Week kicks off with Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day on Friday, May 17. This annual event is a fun, educational way to heighten life jacket awareness and highlight the various styles. Boating enthusiasts are encouraged to wear their life jacket to work, snap a picture, and share their photo on social media with the hashtags #lifejacket2work and #safeboating.

The Safe Boating Campaign continues throughout the boating season with local outreach efforts around the world, including Ready, Set, Wear It Life Jacket Events on various dates. These family-friendly events teach boaters about the importance of always wearing a life jacket, along with helpful care and maintenance information. Boaters can connect with campaign partners in their local community at safeboatingcampaign.com/become-a-partner.

The Safe Boating Campaign reminds boaters to follow these safety tips:

  • Take a boating safety course.
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Watch the weather.
  • No distracted boating.
  • Travel at safe speeds.
  • Never boat under the influence.
  • Have more than one communication device that works when wet.

More safe boating tips and educational resources can be found at safeboatingcampaign.com. The Safe Boating Campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.