BOULDER CITY, Nev. – Hundreds are encouraged to visit Lake Mead National Recreation Area May 18 for the “Ready, Set, Wear It!” Life Jacket World Record Day.
At 11 a.m., visitors will put on their life jackets at Las Vegas Boat Harbor, Katherine Landing, Cottonwood Cove and Meadview in hopes of breaking last year’s world record. To help increase participation, visitors who show up with their life jackets and plan to attend the event will be given free entrance into the park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 18.
This event kicks-off National Safe Boating Week (May 18-24) and is one of 150 simultaneous events scheduled around the world to bring a world of change to boating safety and life jacket wear. In 2012, history was made when 3,993 people participated worldwide.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics state that drowning was the reported cause of death in 70 percent of recreational boating fatalities in 2011, and that 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. At Lake Mead National Recreation Area, eight people reportedly drowned in 2012. Of those, none were wearing a life jacket.
“Whether boating, fishing or swimming, a life jacket can and will save your life,” said Mark Hnat, supervisory park ranger, Lake Mead National Recreation Area. “We’re encouraging people to come out to the park before Memorial Day to make sure their life jackets are as ready for the season as they are.”
LAKE MEAD ACTIVITIES
At 10 a.m. at the Las Vegas Boat Harbor Lake Mead Marina, local city and county leaders will issue proclamations recognizing Safe Boating Week in Southern Nevada. Then, at 11 a.m., visitors will gather in the parking lot and put on their life jackets to demonstrate their commitment to water safety. Each interested participant will be recorded and counted toward the new world record.
Visitors may also have their life jackets inspected by the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
“It’s important to inspect your life jacket every year,” said Jennifer Winston, NDOW’s boating education coordinator-Southern Nevada. “Buckles and straps can deteriorate in the desert heat, and you can outgrow your jacket over time. If we identify worn out jackets, we’ll exchange them at no cost during the event.”
Information booths, displays and Coastie the talking robot boat will be set up at the marina until 1 p.m. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will also conduct free vessel examinations at the launch ramp.
“Even experienced boaters need a vessel safety check,” said Mark Himes, public affairs officer for District 11SR, Division 9, Flotilla 96. “Our flotilla teams will check your registration, personal floatation devices, visual distress signals, ventilation and more. Boats that pass the examination are awarded a distinctive Vessel Safety Check Decal.”
At Meadview, NPS staff will be on hand to count the visitors who don their life jackets at 11 a.m. to help set the new world record.
LAKE MOHAVE ACTIVITIES
At 11 a.m., visitors at Katherine Landing and Cottonwood Cove will put on their lifejackets to help set the world record. Then, representatives from the National Park Service and U.S.C.G. Auxiliary will be on hand to inspect life jackets and provide hands-on information about boating safety and quagga mussels.
At Katherine Landing, kids will also have the opportunity to design and color their own water and boating safety T-shirts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
More information about the national cause is available at www.SafeBoatingCampaign.com. Additional accident statistics can be found at https://www.uscgboating.org/statistics/accident_statistics.aspx.