Last year in Wisconsin none of the 16 fatal boating victims were wearing a life jacket. In fact from 2007 – 2009 there were 42 people who drown in boating incidents in Wisconsin and 88 percent of them were not wearing lifejackets. This mirrors the national statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard which has shown over the past few years that 90 percent of all boaters who drown were not wearing a life saving jacket.
“Tragically already this year we’ve had three fatalities, two of those were drownings in the same incident. Life jackets were not worn, in fact the lifejackets on that boat were found stored in a compartment,” reports Roy Zellmer Department of Natural Resources boating law administrator. “Life jacket wear is one of the simplest ways to save lives while boating.”
National Safe Boating Week is a good time to review other important safety items for boaters as well:
- Complete a safe boating course
- Equip and inspect boats before hitting the water
- Maintaining a speed appropriate to the surroundings, including other craft on the water
- Help fellow boaters in distress
- Refraining from mixing alcohol with boating