COLUMBUS, OH – Recreational boaters are encouraged to stay safe on the water by properly wearing their life jackets anytime while boating. That’s the message again this year from the National Safe Boating Council and its boating partners that include the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft.
“Wearing life jackets anytime while boating is key to enhancing boater safety on the water and is a proven life saver,” said Bill McGarity, acting chief for the Division of Watercraft.
Among the 16 Ohioans who died in boating-related accidents on state waterways in 2010, none were wearing a life jacket when the accidents occurred, according to the Division of Watercraft. Investigations typically conclude that most boating-related accidents are preventable and that boaters increase their chances of survival when properly wearing an approved life jacket.
Ohio law requires that a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket of the correct size and type be worn by any person less than 10 years of age while aboard any vessel less than 18 feet in length while it is underway. The approved life jacket should be worn by any person regardless of age who is riding in a personal watercraft and by any person regardless of age who is being towed behind a boat for any reason such as tubing and waterskiing.
As part of its observance of National Safe Boating Week, the Division of Watercraft and City of Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation will inflate to educate about the importance of wearing a lifejacket! Gahanna is honored to be host of Central Ohio’s 2nd Annual Ready Set Inflate Day world record attempt at Woodside Green Park, 213 Camrose Court, on Saturday, May 21.
Registered adults get to wear and inflate an inflatable life jacket, courtesy of the Division of Watercraft. Family members under the age of 18 will be fitted with non-inflatable life jackets, so they can be part of the world record. Visit http://www.readysetinflate.com/cgi-bin/USA/join_an_event.cgito register to attend. Onsite registration and life jacket fitting is at 12 p.m. with inflation set for 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Ready Set Inflate Day mission is to raise awareness about the importance of wearing a life jacket.
Additionally, the Division of Watercraft will be conducting its “Wear It Ohio!” awareness campaign May 21-22 at East Fork State Park in Clermont County, May 21-22 at Caesar Creek Lake State park in Warren County and May 21 and May 28 at Portage Lakes State Park in Summit County to get Ohioans to pledge to wear life jackets anytime while boating and to share that message with other boaters. By making the pledge, eligible program participants age 18 and older qualify to receive on loan from the Division of Watercraft at no cost a brand new inflatable life vest for use during the 2011 boating season.
The Division of Watercraft and its boating partners also will be conducting free vessel safety inspections at public boat launch ramps around the state as well as boating safety education classes. The agency’s statewide boating safety awareness media advertising campaign is set to kickoff at the conclusion of National Safe Boating Week as the Memorial Day holiday weekend, May 27-30, signals the traditional start of the summer boating season.
“We care about the safety of our boaters and encourage them to observe safe boating practices so they may enjoy our waterways for years to come,” said McGarity.
Additional information on boating safety tips and programs is available online atwww.ohiodnr.com/watercraft.
The ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at ohiodnr.com