DNREC Urges Safe Boating

May 26, 2005

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control's Division of Fish and Wildlife would like to remind recreational boaters to put safety first this holiday weekend and throughout the summer.

Chief James H. Graybeal of DNREC's Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement offers the following advice: “Please be safe this upcoming holiday. Wear your lifejacket, stay sober behind the helm and know our boating laws while enjoying Delaware's waterways.”

Currently over 70 million Americans enjoy boating and combined spend 500 million days on our nation's waterways each year. There are over 13 million recreational vessels registered in the United States, including over 51,000 registered in Delaware.

At a ceremony last Saturday, Governor Ruth Ann Miner recently proclaimed the week of May 21-27 as National Boating Week. The theme this year is “Boat Smart, Boat Safe. Wear It!”

This year's Safe Boating Week theme emphasizes that all boaters should wear life jackets. On average, 700 people die each year in boating-related accidents in the U.S. and 8 out of 10 victims were not wearing a life jacket. A majority of these fatalities could be avoided if boaters would wear life jackets. New life jackets are more attractive and more wearable.

Here are five good reasons to wear a life jacket:
• New inflatable life jackets are lightweight and comfortable.
• Set a good example for your children, grandchildren or young passengers.
• In cold water, it can help protect you from hypothermia.
• If you are injured, an unconscious victim will be submerged while someone wearing a life jacket will be able to stay above water.

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