BoatUS and West Marine roll out safe-boating initiatives

BoatUS is offering boaters safety tips in conjunction with National Safe Boating Week, which continues through Friday.
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BoatUS says inflatable life jackets make casting a line easy and are comfortable to wear.

BoatUS says inflatable life jackets make casting a line easy and are comfortable to wear.

BoatUS is offering boaters safety tips in conjunction with National Safe Boating Week, which continues through Friday.

“Making boating safety easy to embrace means more boaters will continue to make the effort,” Chris Edmonston, president of the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, said in a statement.

The foundation offers boaters three tips:

  • Select a life jacket you will actually wear. Consistently wearing a life jacket may be a challenge for some boaters, but it doesn’t have to be. Inflatable life jackets can be as unobtrusive as a small lightweight belt pack worn around the waist or a suspenders-style inflatable worn over the shoulders. They don’t trap body heat and give the full mobility needed to cast a line or trim a mainsheet. “The best life jacket is the one you’ll actually wear,” Edmonston said, “and inflatables make it easy to wear because they’re so comfortable that you forget you have it on.”
  • Take a boating safety education course that’s free and easy to get: Learning the rules of the road can be difficult for some boaters, as they don’t always have the time to take a boating safety course. BoatUS offers a free online course.
  • File the uncomplicated float plan you’ll do all year: What kind of float plan do you need? Simpler may be better. For most boaters who boat on familiar home waters, a float plan can be as easy as a text message to a friend or relative telling them where you are going, who is aboard and what time you expect to return. More detailed float plans, such as the one offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, are great if you have a need for more detail and coordination, such as for longer offshore passages.

West Marine is also getting on board for Safe Boating Week by hosting a weeklong, safety-inspired fundraiser in its stores across North America and on westmarine.com.

Through Friday, the company will donate $5 from each life jacket purchase (up to $30,000) to its non-profit BlueFuture Fund, which supports community-based organizations that are dedicated to getting young people on and around the water in recreational and educational capacities.

The fundraising initiative is critical for the growth of the fund, which distributes tens of thousands of dollars annually through BlueFuture grants.

“As BlueFuture continues to grow through fundraisers like this, we’ll be able to support more nonprofit organizations that are doing good work in their respective communities,” West Marine communications director Lindsey Johnson said in a statement.

“This particular fundraiser also is important to us because we always want to encourage safe, responsible boating. It’s our privilege to support the National Safe Boating Council as it embarks on its annual North American Safe Boating Campaign.”

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