Alaska Sea Grant in the News

Recreational boaters urged to wear life jackets,
exercise caution on the water

Safe Boating Week is May 23 -29

Date: May 20, 1999
To arrange interviews with marine safety experts, contact Doug Schneider,
Sea Grant Public Information Officer, 907-474-7449.


Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater was on CBS News This Morning (May 20,1999) discussing a new federal safe boating initiative aimed at reducing deaths and injuries among recreational boaters. According to Secretary Slater, some 800 people died last year in recreational boating accidents. Ninety percent of the deaths involved people who did not wear life jackets.

Helping to make boating safer is a new book called Water Wise. The U.S. Marine Safety Association and the University of Alaska Sea Grant College Program collaborated to publish the book. Sea Grant is a nationwide network of marine research and education programs funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Water Wise is designed to help novices and veterans alike become safer boaters. It is written in a straightforward style with dozens of photos and graphics throughout the book's 200 pages.

Chapters cover preparations for a safe trip, reading the weather, survival on the water, first aid, fire fighting and prevention, personal flotation devices, rescue signals and communication electronics, and safe seamanship, and several other major topics.

More specifically, Water Wise will teach recreational boaters how to:

  • Select the right personal flotation devices for themselves and their passengers.

  • Safely bring another vessel under tow.

  • Choose, operate and maintain EPIRBS.

  • Administer CPR and first aid.

  • Build a shelter, signal for help and avoid paralytic shellfish toxin, hypothermia, dehydration and other dangers.

  • Read the weather and make adjustments to their float plans.

  • Safely recover someone who has fallen overboard.

Read more about Water Wise online at the Alaska Sea Grant website.

Author Susan Clark Jensen lives in Sitka, Alaska, where she trains safety instructors and teaches for the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA).

Author Jerry Dzugan is the director and safety training coordinator with AMSEA, and an affiliate faculty member of the University of Alaska Southeast. He's been a commercial fisherman, charter boat operator and emergency services instructor. He has also received awards from the Alaska Safety Advisory Council, National Safe Boating Council, National Safety Council, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Marine Safety Association. He makes his home and maintains his sailboat in Sitka, Alaska.

To arrange interviews with marine safety experts, contact Doug Schneider, Public Information Officer, 907-474-7449.

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