National Safe Boating Week is coming up May 19-25! Since President Eisenhower proclaimed the week in 1958, the United States has seen a steady decline in boating fatalities . It’s an opportunity to help boaters learn how to stay safe on the water, including those who hope to receive a boating license. Each year, the United States Coast Guard partners with boating safety organizations to raise awareness during National Safe Boating Week and throughout the year about the importance of taking proper precautions while boating.
"Boating safety education is generally considered to be an effective way of increasing boater awareness and reducing accidents, injuries and fatalities," said Kurt Kalkomey, president of Kalkomey Enterprises Inc., parent company of Boat Ed and boat-ed.com. "Education is mandatory in many states and students can learn safe boating practices and get certified online at boat-ed.com."
The boating safety course at www.boat-ed.com provides state-approved training that covers the same material that is taught in the classroom. Students learn safe boating skills such as casting off and docking, understanding traffic laws on the water, dealing with emergencies and more. Students who must receive their boater education certificate or boating license pay a one-time fee, which is due only when they pass the course.
Another safety measure that all boaters should adopt is wearing their life jackets when on the water. While the number of boating fatalities in 2010 decreased by 8.7 percent from the previous year, there were 672 boating-related deaths. Of that number, 75 percent drowned and 88 percent of those victims were not wearing a life jacket.
"Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket," said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. "It's important that everyone wears a life jacket while on the water. There's no reason why you, your family and friends can't have fun on the water while also choosing to always wear a life jacket."
Chambers added that boaters can prevent accidents and drowning by being aware of weather conditions, performing vessel safety checks, and ensuring that all required safety equipment is on board.
The National Safe Boating Council also encourages safe boating through sober boating. Alcohol use is a leading factor in fatal boating accidents, so limiting alcohol use while on or operating a boat can save lives.