With National Safe Boating Week beginning May 18 and running through May 24, the Washington State Parks Boating Program is increasing its emphasis on recreational boating safety while encouraging people to have fun on the water.
The campaign coincides with the beginning of boating and fishing seasons, according to the organization’s news release. Last year, 103 reported boating accidents occurred with 21 fatalities and 57 injuries. More than 70 percent of those accidents happened between May and August, the organization said. According to Washington’s recreational boating accident data, that trend is reflected in accident data from the last five years.
“Boating safety is important twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year,” State Parks Boating Program Manager Rob Sendak said.
“But we find that on-the-water accidents and fatalities increase as the weather warms up and more people get out on the water.”
The boating program recommends safety tips for boaters that include:
- Getting educated
- Scheduling a vessel safety check
- Wearing a life jacket at all times
- Bringing communication devices
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs
- Checking and understanding the weather
- Protecting against cold-water shock
“Safe boating begins with preparation,” Sendak added. “Through basic boating safety behaviors, boaters can help keep Washington’s waterways safe for everyone this summer and year-round.”
For more information about safe boating practices, visit boat.wa.gov.