National Safe Boating Week starts Saturday

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Boating safety courses remain a priority with the approach of the 2013 National Safe Boating Week, which takes place May 18-24 with coordinated events across the country.

Public and private organizations are ramping up efforts to increase boater awareness of state safety guidelines as boating season and National Safe Boating Week begin. In 2011 boating accidents reached a 10-year high, underscoring the need for easier access to boating safety courses and other educational materials. New Coast Guard data released for the year 2012 shows that marine deaths hit a record low.

“We monitor the boating industry year-round, and with warmer weather comes the increased potential for boating accidents. Education and awareness are key factors in preventing accidents. The purpose of any boating safety course or training material is to prepare boaters for a variety of scenarios in and out of the water,” Kalkomey Enterprises president Kurt Kalkomey said in a statement.

Boating safety courses are available year-round; however, spikes in course registrants are typical in the early spring and summer. All boaters are encouraged to take a course, regardless of state requirements, before taking to the water.

Several states with education and license requirements also have age requirements for life jackets. The online boating safety courses offered at www.boat-ed.com outline the conditions for each state. In some states, boaters as young as 12 can legally operate a personal watercraft if they complete a boating safety course.

“More young people are earning boating certifications as they reach their state’s age of eligibility. Parents are a big part of this trend and it is encouraging to know that boating education is an increasing priority,” Kalkomey vice president of product development Cindy Kalkomey said in a statement.

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