Statistics compiled by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department show that in 2009, the decrease in fatalities came after an unprecedented spike in boating accident deaths the year before.
“There’s absolutely no reason that any adult that’s on the water shouldn’t be wearing a life jacket.”
That’s Scott McDonald. He’s district commander of United States Power Squadrons, a non profit organization that promotes boating safety through education. With Memorial Day weekend and the official beginning of the summer, boating season is right around the corner. McDonald says plain and simple, wearing a life jacket can save your life. He shows me how to operate an inflatable life jacket.
“It’s essentially a zippered pouch on either side, Velcro covered. You can see on one side, I’ve got a little CO2 cartridge and I can inflate by pulling that string. We’ve also got on the other side, a little inflatable cartridge. If you’ve ever been on the airplanes and you see these little stewardesses imitating how to inflate a life jacket, this is exactly what this is, and it’s great to be able to wear this pack because it’s completely unobtrusive, but in case of emergency, it’s right there and it’s easy to put on.”
McDonald says boating accidents and fatalities are most likely to occur in good weather, with inexperienced boaters.
“So really, the point is that you as a boater are responsible for your safety, and you can do something about it. Number one, get some education. Number two, make sure your boating safety equipment is in good shape. Number three, make sure you’ve got your life jackets with you when you’re out there. And that right there, will have a significant reduction in the fatalities on the water.”
You can find more on boating safety at www.safeboating.org.