Safe Boating Week Reminder: Wear Personal Flotation Devices

With National Safe Boating week beginning today and running through May 23, NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker is reminding boaters of the importance of using good judgment by wearing personal flotation devices at all times while on the water.

"I urge all boat operators and passengers to wear their life jackets when sailing or boating this summer," Rosenker said. "As stated in the theme of this year's campaign, 'Wear It!' a life jacket may save you and your passengers lives."

Since 1993 the NTSB has been warning that all children under age 13 (or 12 and under) should be required to wear life jackets, a message further underscored by this campaign. The U.S. Coast Guard indicates that over a ten-year period the life jacket wear rate for children has increased from 81 percent to 92 percent (ages 0-5) and 69 percent to 84 percent (ages 6-12).

"I am gratified that 48 states now require life jacket wear by children," Rosenker said. "I hope that Wisconsin and Virginia will take action soon to provide the children in their states equal protection to every other state in the country."

On May 10, 2008, the Governor of Iowa signed into law a life jacket requirement for children (ages 12 and under). Wisconsin and Virginia are the only two states that have not taken such action.

The North American Safe Boating Campaign begun in 1957 by the National Safe Boating Council aims at spreading a message of boating safety, encouraging boater education, and helping to save lives. It has evolved into a targeted media effort stretching across the United States and into Canada.

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