Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Paddles Up Great Lakes" Safety Campaign

canoe ID sticker

from the U.S. Coast Guard

"Paddles Up Great Lakes" is the name for a new education campaign launched by the Ninth District of the U.S. Coast Guard. The program begins this weekend and lasts until Sept. 10.

Frank Jennings, Jr., the Ninth District's recreational boating safety program manager said, "Paddlesports is the fastest growing segment of recreational boating." 2009 sales of canoes and kayaks was nearly 344,000. This total was about the same as the previous year, even with the economic slump.

One result is that many entry-level paddlers do not have adequate safety training. Last year, 120 paddlers drowned or died of injury, and another 135 were injured.

But the U.S. Coast Guard wants to raise awareness for Michigan paddlers. The "Paddles Up Great Lakes" campaign will attempt to educate paddlers about basic safety by handing out literature. They will also give out self-adhesive ID stickers for canoes and kayaks. If owners fill out these stickers and adhere them to the boats, the Coast Guard believes that they can more efficiently handle search operations. Many times, boats are found empty and adrift. Quickly locating the owner can save time in determining if there is an emergency.

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Ferd said...

Good advice!

Funny you mentioned this, and the stats. Gail and I have talked several times about kayaking. We just don't want to invest in all the equipment because it will not be our main thing. Earlier this summer we were biking along the New River Trail State Park and noticed places where you can rent. I think we'll start with something like that. And you can bet we'll take every safety precaution!

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Hi Ferd- Great idea! There's been a rash of kayak accidents along Lake Michigan this summer. They don't seem to be getting much press. A brief mention on local TV, but then nothing on their web sites. I think people forget that the big lake can be really dangerous.

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