Safe Boating Week

It’s Still — And Will Always Be — ‘Safe Boating Week’

 Safe Boating Week #11 was officially recognized by the Arizona Game & Fish Department in mid-May, but the focus of the national campaign locally, including its life-jacket exchange, is ongoing. (In 2018, the department’s Boating Safety Education program exchanged 1,520 of the life-saving jackets.)

Life Jackets Save Lives

“Life jackets save lives, but only if they’re still in good operating condition,” said Josh Hoffman, AZGFD’s boating safety education coordinator. “Like anything else, life jackets wear out with time and these exchange events are an amazing opportunity for Arizona’s boaters and paddlers to ensure they have a life jacket that not only fits correctly, but is in great condition.”

Before heading out on the water, it’s important that boaters check to ensure that their life jackets are in good condition and that they are the right size and fit for passengers. When inspecting life jackets, look for any rips or tears, missing straps, broken fasteners, and to ensure that the flotation hasn’t shifted. Life jackets should be inspected each boating season due to the environment’s impact on their materials.

State Law Requires

State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while on board and each passenger must have a properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket available.

The focus of National Safe Boating Week, is an effort to spread the message that wearing a life jacket is the simplest way to ensure an individual’s safety on the water.

The Statistics

Drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2017, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s most readily available statistics. In the 449 water-related deaths that year, 370 people — approximately 84.5 percent — were not wearing a life jacket.

Those statistics are reflected in Arizona: There were 11 recreational boating fatalities in the state last year and sadly, we’ve already had our first fatality of 2019 that involved a kayaker who was not wearing a life jacket.  These deaths were preventable.

“Through this program, the Arizona Game and Fish Department hopes to prevent boating tragedies and help to ensure everyone is safely enjoying Arizona’s waterways,” Hoffman said.

Other “Safe Boating” articles on Arizona Boating & Watersports.

Other “Safe Boating” articles on Florida Boating & Watersports.

Other “Safe Boating” articles on Western Outdoor Times.

For more information about boating in Arizona or to sign up for a free safety course, visit


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