PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department, together with boating professionals and enthusiasts nationwide, will demonstrate the importance of remaining safe on the water by participating in Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day on Friday, May 17.
The annual event, hosted by the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) serves as a fun, educational element ahead of National Safe Boating Week, which runs from Saturday, May 18 to Friday, May 24. The event helps to raise awareness of different life jacket types, while demonstrating their comfort and versatility by wearing them to work.
“There really is no reason not to wear a life jacket while on the water, especially since today’s life jackets are more comfortable than older ones,” said Josh Hoffman, AZGFD Boating Safety Education coordinator. “With the boating season now upon us, it’s important for everyone to do what they can to remain safe on the water. Often the simplest thing anyone can do to protect themselves is to put on a life jacket.”
Drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2017, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s most readily available statistics. In the 449 water-related deaths that year, 370 people — approximately 84.5 percent — were not wearing a life jacket.
Those statistics are reflected in Arizona: There were 11 recreational boating fatalities in the state last year and sadly, there have already been multiple deaths on the water this year and these deaths are preventable.
Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day coincides with the official launch of the 2019 North American Safe Boating Campaign, which focuses on educating the boating public about the safety and comfort of life jackets.
Members of the boating public as well as those interested in showing the wearability of life jackets are encouraged to participate. More information about the event and safe boating is available at facebook.com/safeboatcampaign.
For more information on boating in Arizona or to sign up for a free safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating.