The mayors of the lakeside towns of Chapin, Irmo, and Lexington, as well as the City of Columbia, have issued proclamations in support of National Safe Boating Week, May 22-28, to help promote the official launch of the 2021 Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters.
Sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, National Safe Boating Week is observed to bring attention to important life-saving tips for recreational boaters.
“I support the goals of the Safe Boating Campaign which kicks off the year-round effort to promote safe boating,” said Town of Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall. “The Safe Boating Week helps educate recreational boaters so they have a safe and fun experience out on the water.”
Coast Guard statistics show that in 2020, there was an increase of nearly 25 percent in boating-related deaths across the U.S. In the months of June, July, and August alone, more deaths were recorded for the same 3-month period than in 22 prior years.
“Accidents can happen in a split second with no time to look for a life jacket, so the best option is to have everyone aboard wearing a properly fitted life jacket,” said Barbara Burchfield, District Staff Officer-Recreational Boating Safety Visitation Program, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Lexington area resident who was on hand to receive the proclamation. “The fact is that boating safety starts with you – long before the boat is launched.”
The Coast Guard estimates that human error accounts for most boating accidents and that life jackets could prevent nearly 86 percent of boating fatalities. Through basic boating safety procedures – carrying lifesaving emergency distress and communications equipment, wearing life jackets, attending safe boating courses, participating in free boat safety checks, and staying sober when boating – we can help ensure boaters stay safe while on the water.
The proclamations conclude by urging all those who boat to practice safe boating habits and wear a life jacket at all times while boating.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit www.cgaux.org, www.uscgboating.org and www.safeboatingcouncil.org.