LAS VEGAS — Boating officials from three states are again teaming up to stress life jacket wear at the eighth annual Colorado River Tri-State Boating Safety Fair. As in previous years, this event will feature a life jacket trade-in, free boating safety information, and opportunities to get boating questions answered. This year, boating safety officials are launching follow-up efforts to reach boaters all summer long up and down the Colorado River System.
Families will be given the opportunity to bring in their outgrown or unsafe life jackets to trade-in for brand new U.S. Coast Guard-approved ones (while supplies last). Boating professionals will also showcase inflatable life jackets as part of the national “Ready, Set, Inflate” campaign that coincides with the safety fair. After the main event, the three states have teamed up to provide information all summer long at www.BoatColoradoRiver.com and through targeted outreach efforts using social media.
“Social media is the future, and we know that the best way to reach boaters is where they live online,” said California Department of Boating and Waterway’s Acting Director Lucia C. Becerra. “Boaters want and need information to be safe, so we are going to provide it all summer long. We know that just the smallest reminder or piece of information can save a life.”
The sixth annual event will be held May 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at London Bridge Beach Park, McCulloch Road, Lake Havasu City, Arizona. In addition to the life jacket trade-in, courtesy vessel safety checks will be offered to make sure that boats are ready for the 2011 boating season. Information will be distributed at twenty-seven launch ramps along the river and boating professionals will be on hand to answer any questions boaters may have.
Despite the wide range of information available, boating professionals will continue to emphasize life jackets first and foremost. “We’ve seen a decrease in fatalities in recent years, but too many people are still drowning for lack of wearing a life jacket,” said David Pfiffner, Nevada’s Boating Law Administrator. “We’re still seeing accidents on nice days in calm water where people simply drown, whether they go for a swim off a boat or accidentally fall over, a person can drown in seconds. We know that life jackets are the key to reversing these grim statistics.”
As part of the life jacket focus, boating officials will showcase new inflatable model life jackets. Although these devices have been around for years, too many boaters still think of life jackets in 30-year-old terms, as large, goofy looking, orange and uncomfortable, and that’s just not the case today. The new fanny pack and over the shoulder model inflatable life jackets allow the mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling, hunting or just sunbathing, and are much cooler in warmer weather. To further promote inflatable life jackets, the boaters and visitors on scene will be participating in the national “Ready, Set, Inflate” event at 1 p.m. that features boaters all over the U.S. inflating life jackets on the same day.
The lower Colorado River System is shared by three states, Arizona, California and Nevada. If taken as its own boating entity, the Colorado River System is the second most dangerous waterway in America, including the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico. State lines artificially slice up the system, so the three states have gotten together to talk about the river holistically. While many laws are congruent, a few laws differ and can be confusing to boaters. Providing a forum to the millions of Colorado River boaters, to learn about the different boating laws, is crucial in reducing the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities that take place every year.
Visit BoatColoradoRiver.com for more information about the boating safety fair and the tri-state partnership.
Arizona Game and Fish Department
Jim Harken, 623.236.7223
California Department of Boating and Waterways
Gloria Sandoval, 916.263.0788
Nevada Department of Wildlife
Nick Duhe, 702.497.007