Pennsylvania Legacies #168: Jacket Required

This Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of boating season in Pennsylvania, as well as National Safe Boating Week. Laurel Anders of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission joins us to explain how motorized and non-motorized boaters can stay safe on the water this summer. We also discuss newly available funding opportunities for water trail access projects in the Commonwealth.

Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of boating season in Pennsylvania. But before you get out to enjoy one of our state’s beautiful waterways, make sure you brush up on your boating safety first. 

Each year, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission participates in National Safe Boating Week, which takes place the last full week in May before Memorial Day Weekend. The campaign focuses on safe boating practices and emphasizes the importance of wearing a life jacket. 

“While there’s no silver bullet for boating safety, most times no matter what goes wrong with your boating adventure, if you’re wearing a life jacket it’s going to be your saving grace,” said Laurel Anders of Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. 

According to Anders, there are about 60 to 70 serious boating accidents in Pennsylvania a year, and an average of 11 deaths. The hope is that with continued education and awareness, these numbers will eventually reach zero. 

“Overall accident statistics are trending downward, which is a really interesting fact considering boating participation is currently on the rise. So something is working,” said Anders. 

With interest in boating on the rise, campaigns like Safe Boating Week can help deliver safety information to new boaters. In addition to the special programs, PA Fish and Boat Commission offers free resources year round on their website to educate the public on all aspects of boating, from the basics — like wearing a life jacket — to important information about PA laws and boating registration.