As summer weather has arrived early to the Midwest, boaters have taken to the lakes and rivers in droves. Unfortunately, the increase in water traffic has also come with tragedies. Just this past week, a Winona, MN man fell overboard and the rescue efforts have now turned to a recovery effort. The man was not wearing a life jacket. This past weekend, another boating accident occurred in Iowa. That incident involved two boats crashing and resulted in 8 people being injured and 4 deaths.
May 19-25, 2012 has been proclaimed National Boating Safety Week. As a part of this safety effort, the National Safe Boating Council is focusing on its “Wear It” campaign, which is designed to encourage boaters to wear a personal floatation device while on the water. State law in Minnesota requires children under the age of 10 to wear a life jacket at all times and requires every boat to have a personal floatation device for each adult or child over age 10 in an accessible area. While any over the age of 10 isn’t required to actually wear the life jacket in Minnesota, it may just be the thing that saves your life.
According to 2010 statistics compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard, of the 484 boaters who drowned, only 57 were confirmed to have been wearing a life jacket. The Winona man, who authorities have presumed drowned, was not wearing a life jacket when he fell into the water and was unable to reach the one thrown to him by his friend. In the end, while a life jacket may not be the most stylish thing to wear and may cause unwanted tan lines, it’s an easy step to take to help ensure your safety. So the next time you head out on a boat, WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET.
Think about it.