National Safe Boating Week
May 17-23, 2014
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is teaming up with the National Safe Boating Council and other boating safety advocates across the U.S. to promote safe and responsible boating during National Safe Boating Week, May 17-23, 2014.
National Safe Boating Week is the official launch of the 2014 Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of life jacket wear by recreational boaters.
Before casting off for a day on the water, boaters should take appropriate precautions. File a float plan with a friend or family, get a vessel safety check and take a boating safety course. Boaters should also check the weather forecast and make sure everyone onboard is wearing the correct type and fit of life jacket. Boaters can develop “boater’s hypnosis” a condition in response to sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion, which causes fatigue and slows your reaction time. Combining this condition with alcohol or drugs greatly reduces your coordination, judgment and reaction time, which could lead to deadly consequences so please boat sober.
“Throughout the year hundreds of people drown or die in boating accidents and the majority of the deaths could have been prevented,” said Pam Doty, National Water Safety Program Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We want you to come out and enjoy your national lakes and rivers and return home safely, so please wear a life jacket and boat friendly.”
Boaters can launch at several Corps boat ramps in Florida.
There are three boat ramps along the Caloosahatchee River, west of Lake Okeechobee:
· Ortona Lock and Dam North Recreation Area
· W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam North Recreation Area
· W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam South Recreation Area
On the east side of Lake Okeechobee, boaters can use the boat ramp at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam Recreation Area on the St. Lucie Canal near Stuart.
“Expect the unexpected. Always wear a life jacket whenever you are in or around the water,” said Phillip Hart, park ranger at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam. “Remember that we have free “loaner” life jackets available at our recreation areas to ensure you have a safe visit while boating or just swimming.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the nation’s largest provider of water-based outdoor recreation, managing more than 420 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, the Corps of Engineers provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages. For more information on Corps of Engineers recreation sites and activities, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.