Section V - 1999 Program Enhancements, Initiatives, and New Laws


Life Jacket Use

  The Department continues the Life Jacket Partner Program and the T-Shirt Program aimed at increasing the use of life jackets by children.

  The Department continues a radio ad campaign promoting the use of life jackets. This safety message is being heard on radio stations throughout California and targets boaters in high accident areas.

  The Department continues its outdoor media campaign, placing billboards in areas where accidents are most prevalent. The billboards remind boaters about the importance of wearing a life jacket while boating.

  The Department produced a new 30-second public safety announcement for television that stresses the importance of wearing a life jacket.

  The Department is encouraging the use of life jackets at safety fairs and boat shows throughout the State, through the annual Safe and Wise Water Ways poster contest for children, and at National Safe Boating Week events.

Personal Watercraft

  The Department continues development of a new PWC Practical Handling Course. This course focuses on PWC operation and safe boat handling. The curriculum is designed for operators of all ages and will be available to the general public. It is designed to be incorporated into existing safety programs offered by organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadrons, marine law enforcement agencies, and aquatic centers. This course should be available in Spring 2001.

  The Department produced a 60-second radio ad on the dangers of "horseplay" while operating a PWC which airs on radio stations throughout California.

  The Department produced a 30-second PSA on the subject of personal watercraft safety for distribution to television stations statewide this summer.

Youth Operator Safety

  This year, the new AquaSMART Boating program for high school students was distributed to schools throughout California. This course incorporates key safety concerns identified by accident statistics. Four types of boating are addressed: personal watercraft, powerboating, sailing, and paddling. The course is available to schools, aquatic centers, and youth organizations.

  The curriculum for youth programs includes information on the dangers of alcohol and drug use, especially when boating. Zero tolerance is emphasized for all persons engaged in aquatic recreation.

  The Department will continue to publicize the law requiring operators to be at least 16 years of age to operate most vessels alone.

Alcohol

  The Department continues a radio ad campaign promoting the dangers of drinking alcohol while boating. This safety message is airing on radio stations throughout California and targets boaters in areas with the highest accident rates.

  The Department produced a 30-second PSA on the dangers of mixing alcohol and boating which has been distributed to television stations statewide.

  The Department continues to notify law enforcement agencies statewide about alcohol-related fatalities and encourage them to strengthen their educational and enforcement efforts in this area. The Department reinforces this message at all of its law enforcement training classes.

Other Safety Enhancements

  The Department is producing a short video on new boating laws.

  The Department has produced a public safety announcement for television, highlighting the importance of keeping a proper lookout while boating, which will be distributed to television stations statewide this summer.

  The Department is producing a brochure promoting the importance of taking hands-on boating courses to improve safety on the water. The brochure will identify aquatic centers throughout the State where a variety of boating courses are provided. The brochure will be finished in Fall 2000.

  The Department produced a radio ad promoting safe boating during whitewater activities which is airing on radio stations throughout the State. To further enhance river safety, the Department added to the assortment of river guides that are made available to boaters. Guides to the Kern and Smith Rivers are now available, providing boaters with safety information and maps of these rivers. The Department will continue to warn boaters about hazardous water conditions on California's rivers, especially during spring and early summer when water levels are high from snow pack run-off.

  The Department produced a "know before you go" radio ad that combines general boating safety preparedness with a message reminding boaters to be environmentally responsible.

  The Department is updating its water skiing safety video to include not only traditional water skiing activities, but also to include wake boarding, knee boarding, and inner tubing activities. This project should be completed in Spring 2001.

  The Department plans to increase outreach efforts to anglers and will work with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to this end.

  The Law Enforcement unit continues to conduct the Accident Reconstruction Course on the water, providing staged accidents for reconstruction by students. Many law enforcement officers believe this course helps them reconstruct accidents more accurately.