|Harrisburg, PA – Join your state legislators, U.S. Coast Guard, boating organizations, and the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) to kick-off National Safe Boating Week on Wednesday, May 18, at 11:15 a.m. in the Main Rotunda of the State Capitol Complex.
“This special event is designed to raise public awareness of the importance of life jacket wear and to demonstrate the comfort of inflatable life jackets,” said Laurel Anders, director of the PFBC’s Bureau of Boating and Access. “Life jackets are the most important piece of equipment on a boat. In fact, among all boating fatalities in Pennsylvania, about 80 percent of the victims were not wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident. Very simply, life jackets save lives.”
As part of this special event highlighting the importance of life jackets, attendees will be asked to wear and simultaneously activate (with the simple pull of a cord) an inflatable life jacket in order to be counted in a national record-setting campaign called “Ready, Set, Inflate!”.
In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to sign a “Wear It Pennsylvania!” pledge indicating their personal commitment to wearing a life jacket while boating. Local media will be present to document Pennsylvania’s promotion of safe boating.
The importance of life jackets and other watercraft safety tips are the focus of the 2011 National Safe Boating Week, May 21-27. “However, boaters should practice safe boating throughout the entire boating season,” said Anders. “To demonstrate their commitment to safety, boaters can visit our website and submit the online ‘Wear It Pennsylvania!’ pledge form.”
The pledge form and a special video by PFBC Executive Director John Arway touting the importance of life jackets can be found at: fishandboat.com/wear-it-message.htm.
National Safe Boating Week is scheduled each year as the first full week before Memorial Day weekend which is often thought of as the unofficial start of warm weather and the boating season in Pennsylvania. Boaters should note that all boats must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) life jacket on board for each person. In addition, children 12 years of age and younger must wear their life jackets while underway on any boat 20 feet or less in length and on all canoes and kayaks.
More information about the “Ready, Set, Inflate!” campaign can be found at: http://www.readysetinflate.com/usa.
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.