Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

May 18, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Life Jackets and Active Supervision Are Essential To Boating Safety

National Safe Boating Week is May 19-25

TOPEKA, Kan.  — Whether it’s during vacation or part of an ordinary summer day, boating can be fun for the entire family – as long as everyone remains safe. The U.S. Coast Guard reports an estimated 85 percent of boating-related drowning could be prevented by the use of life jackets. Nationally, of the children who drowned while boating in 2003, more than 60 percent were not wearing life jackets.

“On a boat, everyone should wear a life jacket at all times,” says Cherie Sage, State Director of Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “Look for a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Water wings and other inflatable swimming aids such as inner tubes do not prevent drowning.”

Safe Kids Kansas recommends that children ages 14 and under wear life jackets not only on boats, but near open bodies of water or when participating in water sports. Kansas law requires children ages 12 and under to wear life jackets while boating, and children under 13 are required to wear life jackets on any recreational vessel in waters under Coast Guard jurisdiction.

Safe Kids Kansas urges parents and caregivers to wear life jackets on boats or other watercraft as well. “Your children will pick up and embrace your safety habits,” says Sage. According to a 2005 study by Safe Kids Worldwide, children are much more likely to practice safe habits when they witness similar behavior by parents and caregivers.

Safe Kids Kansas also reminds parents and caregivers:

National Safe Boating Week is an annual educational campaign, coordinated by the National Safe Boating Council, running the week prior to Memorial Day.

For more information about drowning and boating-related injuries, call Safe Kids Kansas at 785-296-0351 or visit

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