May 18 through May 24 is National Safe Boating Week and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding boaters to boat safe, boat smart and boat sober. As the weather starts to warm up, everyone is anxious to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Families and friends gather together to enjoy the outdoors, travel on vacation and spend time on the water – boating, fishing, sailing and more. When you do head out, it’s important to remember a few safety precautions to take during all of these good times.
Boat Safe – Remember to check that all of your safety equipment is in good condition, especially your life jackets. In 2012, there were 10 recreational boating fatalities in Colorado. All of the victims died from drowning and none of them were wearing a life jacket. A lot of people believe they can swim their way out of a bad spot, not realizing the effect cold water will have on them. A great alternative for everyone 16 and older is a US Coast Guard approved inflatable life jacket. They’re very comfortable and provide about twice the flotation as an inherently buoyant vest. Don’t be a number, Wear It Colorado!
Boat Smart – Of all the boaters involved in an accident last year, only 15 percent had any type of boat safety education. Between April and September this year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and our partners are hosting over 100 boating safety review sessions at 28 locations throughout the state. These classes are open and encouraged for everyone, but required for motorboat drivers 14 and 15 years old. If interested in a class check the schedule online and reserve your spot today. Not only can it keep you and your family safer, but can also save you money on your boat insurance.
Boat Sober – In 2012, 50 percent of fatal and 24 percent of non-fatal boat accidents involved alcohol and/or drugs. Everyone knows how dangerous it is to drive a car after drinking alcohol, but due to the extra stressors with boating and generally less experience and confidence with driving a boat, these effects are multiplied. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) rarely just affects the operator who’s drinking – everyone on the lake is at risk when there’s an impaired boater. Play it safe on the water, pick a sober skipper!
This year during National Safe Boating Week and throughout the boating season, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working with our partners to encourage safe and responsible boating.
The week starts off on Friday, May 17 with “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day!” We’re encouraging everyone serious about boating safety to prove it by wearing a life jacket at your job. Be sure to send in the pictures to our Facebook page. Barr Lake State Park will be making free kids t-shirts and providing boat patrol ride-along’s on the 18th. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be conducting a “Ready, Set, Wear It” life jacket education event at Chatfield State Park at noon on Saturday, May 18. Through the week we’ll have many more boating safety events throughout the state, including Peterson Air Force Base, Ft. Carson and at Elitch Gardens. On May 24, we’ll be at Chatfield State Park to kick off the “Summer of Safety” campaign in conjunction with the Colorado State Patrol.
Safe boating saves lives – so, for this year’s National Safe Boating Week and throughout the boating season, remember to “Wear It Colorado!”
Logo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife