Wear It Day! Kicks Off Safe Boating Week on May 20

Safety tips, giveaways, free vessel checkups from experts

Hillsborough County, Fla. (May 16, 2017) - The Hillsborough County Marine Safety Unit is teaming up with local marine law enforcement agencies and educators this weekend to promote lifejackets and boating safety at the bay area's first Wear It Day.

The community is invited for demonstrations, giveaways, free vessel safety checks, information on bilingual boating safety courses, and to meet marine officers. The event is Saturday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to noon at Gandy Boat Ramp, 5108 Gandy Blvd. in Tampa.

Wear It Day will also focus on the importance of lifejackets, and attendees are encouraged to "wear it!" The National Safe Boating Council will give away several styles of lifejackets; experts will be on hand to guide wearers on proper size and fit. 

In awareness of National Safe Boating Week, here are tips to stay safe on the waterways:

  1. Whether boating, fishing, paddling, or skiing, always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Florida leads the nation in boating accidents and fatalities. Drowning is the No. 1 cause.
  2. Take a Safe Boating Course to learn navigation and the law, especially if you're new to boating or the area. Many great learning options are available online.
  3. Preparations should include a marine forecast, filing a float plan, and a review of safety equipment like cellphones and emergency position indicator radio beacons (EPIRBs).
  4. Adhere to NO WAKE zones and "break your wake." Be responsible and considerate of your speed and other sharing the waterways, including wildlife.
  5. Designate a Skipper, don't Boat Under the Influence.

Participants for Wear It Day! include Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, Hillsborough County Marine Safety Unit, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue/Marine Unit, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit, Tampa Police Marine Unit, and the U.S. Coast Guard.



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