Home > News > News Item
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462
DEM ENVIRONMENTAL POLICE OFFICERS AND BOATING SAFETY ADVOCATES URGE BOATERS TO ALWAYS WEAR LIFE JACKETS WHILE ON THE WATER
National Safe Boating Week marks the official launch of the 2014 North American Safe Boating Campaign. This year-long campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, "Wear It!" In addition, the campaign reminds boaters of the importance of boating safely, boating sober, knowing navigational rules and having a proper lookout. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that nationwide, drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2012, and that 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
"That's why boating safety advocates continue to push for increased and consistent life jacket wear on the water," said Lieutenant Steven Criscione, boating safety coordinator for DEM's Division of Law Enforcement. "Today's life jackets are comfortable, stylish and easy to wear. In fact, they don't even have to be jackets anymore." Lieutenant Criscione noted that old-fashioned, bulky orange life jackets have been replaced with innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting, and are much cooler in the warmer weather.
Recreational Boating Safety Facts
According to the U.S. Coast Guard's 2012 Recreational Boating Safety Statistics, the latest official record of reported recreational boating accidents:
Life Jacket Facts:
Today's Life Jacket: Style, Variety and Comfort
Most boaters know they're required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for every passenger on their boat. Boating safety advocates recommend that all boaters and passengers not only have a life jacket, but "Wear It!" at all times while boating.
Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. Of those who died in boating accidents in 2012, almost three-fourths of all accident victims drowned – and 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.
The good news is that today's life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. Life jackets that use inflatable technologies are cool and comfortable. They may resemble a pair of suspenders or a belt pack. Many inflate automatically when immersed in water. Other life jacket styles are available for almost any boating activity.
For fishing: Vest-style life jackets come with features such as pockets and clips to replace the fishing vest and keep the angler safe.
For personal watercraft and water sports: Inherently buoyant lighter-weight life jackets are rugged, with multiple buckles and clasps to keep them secure after impact with the water.
For hunting and cold weather: Full coats and suits are available in camouflage colors for waterfowl hunting and for those who boat when air and water temperatures are cool.
For paddling: Special life jackets are designed with large openings for arms to allow ease of movement and there are belt style life jackets worn on the waist.
For children: Virtually all styles available are sized especially for children - some with cartoon characters, straps for pulling children from the water and high-visibility schemes.
For pets: Life jackets are even available for our four-legged friends. It's helpful to purchase one with a handle on top to easily pull your pet out of the water, if needed.
No matter what the activity or style chosen, the most important thing is this: Remember to grab a life jacket and "Wear It!"