OLYMPIA – May 16, 2013 – Governor Jay Inslee has declared May 18 through 24 as Safe Boating Week in Washington; and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission reminds all water sport enthusiasts of the importance of safe boating and officially launches the “Wear It Washington!” campaign.
Washington’s Safe Boating Week runs concurrent with National Safe Boating Week, coordinated each year by the National Safe Boating Council and its boating safety partners across the U.S. and Canada to promote the importance of recreation boaters to wear life jackets. The “Wear It!” campaign promotes life jacket wear on boats for adults and children and provides education about new styles of life jackets available, including inflatable ones.
“Wear It Washington!” is a simple reminder to encourage everyone, both adults and children, to stay safe on the water by always wearing a life jacket,” said Clark County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Todd Baker. “We are pleased to bring this important message to the thousands of water enthusiasts who will be on Washington’s waterways this summer.”
Boating safety events will be held at various locations across Washington throughout the summer. The public is invited to attend and learn more about safe boating and life jackets as well as meet boating safety advocates.
“Each year, 400 to 500 lives could have been saved if boaters had worn their life jackets,” said Dan Shipman, recreational boating safety specialist with the U.S. Coast Guard District 13. “New life jackets on the market today are comfortable, lightweight and perfect for any boating activity. Don’t just carry a life jacket – wear it!”
The most recent statistics released by the U.S. Coast Guard indicate that 84 percent of boaters who drowned in 2012 were NOT wearing life jackets.
During the State Parks Boating Program’s “Wear It Washington!” campaign this summer, special teams of volunteers, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, marine law enforcement officers, local marina personnel and other organizations will be at boating safety events demonstrating the latest designs in life jackets and providing free vessel safety checks.
The Washington State Parks Boating Safety Program is a leader in boating safety and environmental education and outreach, with the purpose of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of Washington waterways, and keeping recreational boating a safe, accessible and enjoyable pastime.
For more information on boating in Washington, visit www.boat.wa.gov.
Stay connected to your state parks by following Washington State Parks at www.facebook.com/WashingtonStateParks, www.twitter.com/WAStatePks and www.youtube.com/WashingtonStateParks. Share your favorite state park adventure on the new State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. Washington State Parks turned 100 years old on March 19, 2013, and will celebrate with events in parks all over the state, all year long. For more information, visit www.parks.wa.gov/events/.
Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.