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Safety video aims to stem paddle-sports deaths

The Water Sports Foundation announced today the release of a series of paddle-sports safety videos targeting new paddlers.

The non-profit Water Sports Foundation announced today the release of a series of paddle-sports safety videos targeting new paddlers.

In 2015 the foundation, a recipient of Coast Guard grant funds, directed its outreach project’s focus to include more effort to make paddle sports safer.

According to a Coast Guard report, 143 people lost their lives while participating in paddle sports last year. The trend of increased paddle sports deaths is causing concern among the Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division and paddle sports safety organizations. This news comes during a period in which deaths from traditional powerboating declined.

For more than 24 months, advertisements in paddle sports media have been encouraging paddlers to wear a life jacket while paddling. Not wearing a life jacket is a leading cause for the increase in deaths. To reach paddle-sports newcomers, however, the foundation created a new strategy imploring paddle-sports boat manufacturers to help with safety message distribution.

“New paddlers, by and large, have not yet subscribed to traditional paddle sports media; therefore we had to seek alternative ways to reach them, and in my experience manufacturers with warranty card registration lists, e-newsletter lists, social media and website channels are best suited for this challenge, so we asked them to help and they all agreed,” Water Sports Foundation grant director Jim Emmons said in a statement.

As of today, the paddle sports safety videos are completed and ready for release. A schedule that calls for the release of one video each week during the summer was set to begin today. The first video in the series can be seen at CanoeKayak.com/Safety.

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