Ohio hopes to lead the nation again with the highest number of participants for the “Ready, Set, Wear It!” life jacket safety awareness events on Saturday, May 18. These events will kick off National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
According to the Recreational Boating Statistics 2011 released by the U.S. Coast Guard, 70 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, 84 percent were reported as not wearing a life jacket.
“Life jackets save lives,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “Keeping people safe on the water is the reason we encourage everyone to participate in the ‘Ready, Set, Wear It!’ safety awareness events.”
Twenty-six “Ready, Set, Wear It!” events will be happening statewide on May 18. Headlining the “Wear It!” events is the ‘Take Me Boating Toledo-Wear It Ohio!’ event from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., which includes various boating-related activities at The Maritime Academy of Toledo. This free family event is open to the public and hosted by the ODNR Division of Watercraft, the Western Lake Erie Safe Boating Council, The Maritime Academy of Toledo and their local boating partners.
Additional Ohio event information is available from the ODNR Division of Watercraft at www.watercraft.ohiodnr.gov. For more information, visit SafeBoatingCampaign.com. The National Safe Boating Council also offers some great national resources www.safeboatingcouncil.org.
In 2012, Ohio had the highest number of participants wearing life jackets in the country with 893 people. Worldwide, 3,993 people gathered at more than 146 events last year to set a new record for the number of participants who inflated their inflatable life jacket or wore an inherently buoyant life jacket. Additionally, Ohio had 13 ‘Ready, Set, Wear It!’ events last year, ranking Ohio as the second highest in the number of events nationwide. Florida took the lead with 16 events.
Ohioans are always encouraged to share photos of themselves and their family and friends wearing life jackets on the ODNR Division of Watercraft’s Facebook page at facebook.com/ohiodivisionofwatercraft.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.