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Contact: June Iljana
(916) 651-5692
e-mail: pubinfo.dbw.ca.gov

September 1, 2005

Boat Safely This Labor Day Weekend

The Department of Boating and Waterways reminds boaters to use caution and good judgment while boating this upcoming Labor Day Weekend.

"Almost 20 percent of all boating accidents occur on holiday weekends, including Labor Day weekend," said Boating and Waterways Director, Raynor Tsuneyoshi. "When waterways get crowded the chances for a collision increase so it’s important that boaters maintain a proper lookout, watch the alcohol, and wear a lifejacket."

Operator inattention is the leading cause of boating accidents, contributing to 40 percent of all California boating accidents last year. When boaters are celebrating, they may neglect to watch out for other boats. While the operator is ultimately responsible for maintaining a proper lookout, it's a good idea to designate someone else on board to help watch for other traffic, especially on a large boat or in congested areas.

Last year, 38 percent of all boating fatalities reported in California last year were alcohol related. Intoxicated passengers often engage in dangerous activity, such as riding the gunwhale or jumping from one boat to another, that results in drowning or propeller injuries. Everyone who drinks alcohol on board is at risk.

Nearly 80 percent of all boating fatality victims would have survived if they had been wearing the life jackets they had on board. Today, life jackets come in an array of styles and colors. Choose a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket, suitable for the type of boating activity, and wear it. Several events will take place throughout the state over the Labor Day weekend to encourage safe boating.

In Northern California, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District will host Operation River Safe on the American River at the Sunrise Bridge put in this weekend to encourage everyone heading onto the river to wear a properly fitted life jacket. Fire fighters will loan some life jackets out to those in need.

On Friday in San Diego, a life-jacket trade-in event will be held at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. Twenty youth and small adult size life jackets will be available for trade-in to anyone bringing in an worn-out or ill-fitting life jacket. Glen Brandenburg, Director of the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, will be on hand to host Fox 6 News in the Morning and the Life Jacket Trade-In. The San Diego Police Department/Harbor Patrol on Mission Bay will host Fox 6 News in the Morning’s Ruben Galvan out on-the-water. This event is sponsored by the California Department of Boating and Waterways. Safe Boating is BIG FUN !

The Department of Boating and Waterways promotes on-the-water safety and helps develop convenient public access to the waterways through programs funded by vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments.

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