The Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA) reminds all to be safe on the water as spring launch approaches. Michigan is third in the nation in boating registrations, competing with other top states such as Florida, California and Minnesota, as one of the safest and most ideal locations to boat. The US Coast Guard reports Michigan boating fatalities are down 11% in 2014 with 16 compared to 18 in 2013.
“Boating safety has made great strides with education, awareness and improved safety gear. Boating is a safe way to share incredible moments with family and friends,” said MBIA Executive Director Nicki Polan. MBIA always encourages education and wearing a life jacket, which can reduce fatalities on our Michigan Waters.
“We’re gearing up for another great boating season in Michigan with higher water levels, low fuel prices and a thriving industry post-recession. Our boaters are responsible, with a low rate of accidents and fatalities,” said Polan. Historically, fatalities were 1 in 4,376 in 1967; compared to the current ratio 1 in 39,473 (2014).
Education can reduce accidents and enhance your experience on the water. MBIA reminds boaters of a few boating safety tips:
- Wear it! The National Safe Boating Council promotes the National Safe Boating Week with a Wear It! Campaign, promoting life jacket awareness. Of all the fatal boating accident victims who drown, 85% weren’t wearing a life jacket. A life jacket can save your life.
- Towing – When pulling a skier, tube or other towable, be sure to have a spotter on your vessel. All those being towed must wear an approved life jacket and know proper hand gestures to signal to the spotter.
- Diving Flag Recognition – Learn to recognize a diver flag! Boaters need to stay 200ft. away from a dive flag unless their tendering for the diving operation. For more visit: dive-flag.com/Michigan.html
- Marina Safety –NEVER swim within a marina. Electric shock drowning occurs when water is charged with electricity and electrocutes a swimmer paralyzing them and causing them to drown. This can happen in a marina setting where boats are powered and is extremely dangerous!
- The entire Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities can be found on the Michigan DNR website, or directly at boat-ed.com/michigan/handbook/book.html
MBIA offers free boater’s safety courses at the Detroit Boat Show and Spring Boating Expo each year, encouraging new and seasoned boaters to learn the rules of the water for the safety of all before heading out. MBIA also distributes boating safety information to those who request it by contacting the MBIA.
National Safe Boating Week is May 16-22, where boating safety is encouraged nationwide. MBIA and the National Safe Boating Council do not stand alone in promoting boating safety, other organizations and groups are pulling together to promote safety to recreational boaters across the nation including; the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron, MDNRE’s Law Enforcement Division, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, local Sheriff’s Marine Divisions, many Michigan boat dealers and Boat U.S.
Join MBIA by encouraging boating safety. For more boating safety information visit MBIA’s consumer site: Boatmichigan.org or Safeboatingcampaign.com.
MBIA is a non-profit trade association representing more than 325 marine businesses and serves as the voice for Michigan’s $7.4 billion marine industry. MBIA is dedicated to the advancement, promotion and protection of recreational boating in Michigan. MBIA produces Michigan’s big three boat shows: the Detroit Boat Show, Spring Boating Expo and the Boating & Outdoor Festival. Proceeds from these events go back to the industry through MBIA programs and services. For more information about MBIA and its boat shows visit www.mbia.org.