Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, the Coast Guard's Director of Prevention Policy, emphasized the importance of boating education saying, "The 2008 report shows a clear link between safety and boating education by highlighting that only 10 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety education. This statistic indicates that boaters who have taken a boating safety course are less likely to be involved in an accident. In addition, two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned; and of those, 90 percent were not wearing a life jacket. The Coast Guard urges all boaters, whether as an operator or passenger, to take a boating safety course and to always wear a life jacket."
New York has become the first state to require life jackets for everyone in all small pleasure craft during the six coldest months of the year, when capsized boaters drown faster in chilly water.
Starting Nov. 1, kayakers, canoeists and all those aboard motorboats which are under 21 feet must wear Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices while on lakes, the ocean or other waterways.
The rule remains in effect through May 1. Violators will face fines ranging from $100 to $250.
Falling into cold water can trigger shock, disorientation or gasping and inhaling water. Immersion can lead to hypothermia and passing out.
For 70 years the Coast Guard Auxiliary has provided boater education to the American boating public.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard created by an Act of Congress in 1939.