MRAA forms opposition to life-jacket mandate

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The Marine Retailers Association of America is urging its members to let Congress know they oppose proposals to make life-jacket wear mandatory.

Several federal government agencies, led by the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, are working to require all boaters to wear life jackets on boats. Included on the list of government agencies are the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service, according to the MRAA.

“I believe a mandatory life jacket law for adults is the biggest threat to the economic vitality of recreational boating and is far bigger than the onerous luxury tax of a generation ago,” MRAA chairman Dave Foulkrod said in a statement.

According to the Coast Guard, about 700 people each year die while boating, a figure that is down significantly from an annual high of about 3,000 in previous years. The decline comes as boating continues to rise in popularity.

“MRAA strongly believes boating is one of the safest forms of recreation. We have and continue to support a safe boating environment to enhance the boating experience for American families,” MRAA president Phil Keeter said in a statement.

MRAA members are urged to go to the group’s website and follow the prompts on how to contact members of Congress. Those interested also can contact Coast Guard Capt. Mark Rizzo, chief of the Office of Boating Safety, at (202) 372-1260 or by e-mail at mark.d.rizzo@uscg.mil.

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