Susan Kavanaugh (360) 902-8847Lynn Satre (360) 902-8837
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388
OLYMPIA – May 18, 2011 – Governor Christine Gregoire has declared May 21-27 Safe Boating Week in Washington; and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission reminds all water sport enthusiasts of the importance of safe boating and officially launches the “Wear It Washington!” campaign.
Washington’s Safe Boating Week runs concurrent with National Safe Boating Week, coordinated each year by the National Safe Boating Council and its boating safety partners across the U.S. and Canada to promote the importance of recreation boaters to wear life jacket. This year’s theme, “Wear It!” promotes life jacket wear on boats for adults and children and provides education about new styles of life jackets available, including inflatable ones.
“Wear It Washington!” is a simple reminder to encourage everyone, both adults and children, to stay safe on the water by always wearing a life jacket,” said Chelan County Sergeant Randy Foltz. “We are pleased to bring this important message to the thousands of water enthusiasts who will be on Washington’s waterways this summer.”
“Wear It Washington!” events will be held at various locations across Washington throughout the summer. The public is invited to attend and learn more about safe boating and life jackets as well as meet boating safety advocates and the people behind the “Wear It!” campaign.
“Each year, 400 to 500 lives could have been saved if boaters had worn their life jackets,” said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. "New life jackets on the market today are comfortable, lightweight and perfect for any boating activity. Don’t just carry a life jacket – wear it!”
The most recent statistics released by the U.S. Coast Guard indicate that 84 percent of boaters who drowned in 2009 were NOT wearing life jackets.
During the State Parks Boating Program’s “Wear It Washington!” campaign this summer, special teams of volunteers, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, marine law enforcement officers, local marina personnel and other organizations will be at “Wear It Washington!” events demonstrating the latest designs in life jackets and asking boaters to take the “Wear It!” pledge.
The “Wear It Washington!” campaign is funded by a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. The campaign schedule can be found online at www.WearItWashington.com.
The Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. The 98-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.
Washington State Parks is now on Twitter at WaStatePks_NEWS and YouTube at WashingtonStateParks.