When I wrote an earlier post on charts in Finland, I made the mistake of claiming that navigational charts are the most important safety equipment aboard a boat in Finland. I now have to admit that obviously I had made a mistake, your most important security equipment is your life jacket – wear it!
What alerted my to my mistake was the North American Safe Boating Campaign called Wear It that is doing a great job in the US to promote on-water safety and the use of a life jacket whenever anyone spends time on the waters in any kind of vessel.
And the Wear It campaign in not only working in the US, it is also active globally. Fortunately, the drowning statistics in Finland are not that bad. In 2011, 41 people drowned in Finland in a boating (pleasure as well as commercial) related accident. In 2012 the number was down to 27. Swimming and moving on the ice are the second and third most common reasons for drowning. Even though the number of drownings is not terribly bad, there were still 108 unnecessary drowning deaths in 2012. Certainly something we can all work on improving.
To help raise awareness of the importance of wearing a life jacket, the Wear It campaign is inviting the whole world to try to set a new record in wearing life jackets. Saturday, May 18 2013 is Life Jacket World Record Day. Let’s all join in the campaign and make sure that life jackets become the norm for all kinds of boating all over the world!