Editorial — Safety First

This is National Safe Boating Week — and next week is the unofficial start of prime boating season: Memorial Day. There’s no time like the present to take a look at your Number 1 piece of onboard safety gear: your personal flotation device (PFD).            

The theme of this year’s National Safe Boating Week is “Wear It!” — and the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadrons and the National Safe Boating Council are all urging boaters to wear a life jacket every time they go boating.            

Wearing a personal flotation device at all times is the easiest way to ensure your safety — and the safety of your passengers — while on the water. Today’s PFDs are lightweight and comfortable. And to emphasize just how comfortable they are, this year’s safe boating campaign urged people nationwide to participate in a “wear your life jacket to work” event called “Ready, Set, Wear It.”            

Putting on a life jacket — and keeping it on — is the easiest thing boaters can to ensure survival in a boating accident, according to the Coast Guard. According to recent statistics, 85 percent of all boating accident fatalities nationwide were due to sudden, unexpected capsizing or falls overboard.            

All passengers ages 12 and younger are required by law to wear PFDs, but every boater is encouraged to wear one, at all times.

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