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CLEVELAND, Ohio – The annual National Safe Boating Week safety campaign kicks off Saturday, and Coast Guard units and Auxiliary flotillas all across the Great Lakes are planning to host events and highlight the importance of boating safety throughout the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend.
Saturday is also the Ready, Set, Wear It! Life Jacket World Record Day, when thousands of people from around the world will attempt to set the world record for the most life jackets worn and inflatable life jackets inflated on one day in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of wearing a life jacket.
A list of Ready, Set, Wear It! events, divided by U.S. states, is available here.
"Much like wearing a seatbelt, putting on a lifejacket during or after an accident happens is too late," said Mike Baron, the recreational boating safety specialist for the Ninth Coast Guard District. "That's why we recommend that people wear their lifejackets while on the water."
Although 2016 U.S. Coast Guard statistics have not been released yet, in 2015 drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities, and 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
For this year’s National Safe Boating Week campaign, the Great Lakes Coast Guard will focus on three aspects of boating safety: vessel operator responsibilities, paddlesport safety, and the importance of communication before, during and after on-water recreational activities. News releases with safety tips for each focus area will be distributed throughout the week.