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July 24, 2012

Summer's here, stay safe with these boating safety tips

National Safe Boating Council Identifies States with Highest Number of Boating Accidents and Fatalities, Provides Tips for Safe Boating

Five life jacket safety tips can keep you and your family safe during recreational boating activities

Washington, D.C. (July 24, 2012) – Following safe and responsible boating practices, including wearing a life jacket, being alert and aware while on the water, and obeying navigation rules, can make each time you are on the water with family and friends enjoyable while always being prepared for an emergency situation.

The National Safe Boating Council [http://www.safeboatingcouncil.org/] (NSBC), through the U.S. Coast Guard Accident Statistics, has identified states with the highest number of accidents and fatalities in 2011, based on new statistics released in May 2012. The NSBC encourages all boaters to follow boating safety and always wear a life jacket each and every time they are on the water.

Using data gathered by the U.S. Coast Guard, the NSBC has identified the following top-ranking states for boating deaths:

  1. Florida
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. Louisiana
  5. North Carolina/New York (tie)
  6. Michigan
  7. Illinois
  8. Pennsylvania/Tennessee/Wisconsin (tie)
  9. Virginia
  10. Missouri

Additionally, the NSBC has identified the following top-ranking states for boating accidents:

  1. Florida
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. Maryland
  5. New York
  6. Arizona
  7. North Carolina
  8. Ohio
  9. Michigan
  10. Missouri

In 2011, the Coast Guard counted 4,588 accidents that involved 758 deaths, 3,081 injuries and approximately $52 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. Of those who drowned, 84 percent were not wearing life jackets.

“The statistics show that no matter where you are boating, following boating safety, being properly prepared and equipped, and always wearing a life jacket can help save many lives," said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “Accidents on the water happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. With the variety, comfort and style of today’s life jackets, there’s no reason why you, your family and friends, can't have fun on the water while always choosing to wear a life jacket.”

To prevent drowning and promote safe boating practices, the NSBC encourages all recreational boaters to wear their life jacket and follow these five life jacket safety tips:

  1. No matter what activity you have planned – boating, fishing, sailing, etc. – always remember to wear a life jacket every time you are on the water.
  2. Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved. Double-check that your life jacket is appropriate for your boating activity.
  3. Take the time to ensure a proper fit.
  4. Life jackets meant for adults do not work for children. If you are boating with children, make sure they are wearing properly fitted, child-sized life jackets. Do not buy a life jacket for your child to “grow into.”
  5. On recreational vessels underway, children under 13 years old must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket unless they are below decks or in an enclosed cabin. Some state laws vary – check with your local Marine Law Enforcement Authorities.

The North American Safe Boating Campaign unites the efforts of a wide variety of boating safety advocates, including NASBLA, the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the many members of the National Safe Boating Council. The campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. Partners hold local events, teach classes, distribute educational materials and perform free Vessel Safety Checks, among other activities.

About the National Safe Boating Council

The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) is the foremost coalition for the advancement and promotion of safer boating through education, outreach, and training. The NSBC accomplishes this mission by promoting outreach and research initiatives that support boating education and safety awareness; improving the professional development of boating safety educators through training; and developing and recognizing outstanding boating safety programs. To learn more about the NSBC and its programs, visit www.SafeBoatingCouncil.org.