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“Wear It Michigan


									“Wear It Michigan!” Safe Boating Campaign 2009:
Resource Kit


  I    Introduction to the 2009 Campaign          2

  II   Campaign Partners                          3

 III   Overview Press Release                     4-5

 IV    Campaign Highlights                        6-7

  V    Recreational Boating Safety Facts      8-10

 VI    Life Jacket Facts                      11-12

Introduction to the 2009 Campaign
A Message from Campaign Partners

We are pleased to announce the “Wear It Michigan!” initiative – a program designed to increase
the life jacket wear rate amongst boaters in the Detroit metropolitan area of Michigan.
Supported by a first-time collaborative initiative between the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Safe Boating Council, this campaign helps
educate boaters that wearing a life jacket is the number one way to save a life in the event of an
accident on the water.

This initiative implements a wide range of concentrated public outreach and marketing activities
designed to deliver life jacket messages and, ultimately, inspire boaters to wear their life jackets
every time they head to the water. This year’s “Wear It Michigan!” focus will be headed by
Michigan Conservation Officers on the Detroit River, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair. These
waterways were chosen as the sites for this program because of their popularity as boating “hot
spots” for thousands of recreational boaters each year, as well as their significant contribution to
the total number of boating accidents and fatalities that occur on Michigan’s waterways.

Michigan is surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, which contain 90% of the United States’
fresh surface water. Michigan has 3,288 miles of Great Lakes coastline, more than 10,000 inland
lakes, and is interwoven by 36,000 miles of rivers and streams. Michigan also has more than
931,000 registered watercraft (ranks 3rd in the nation) and has more than 1,300 public boat
launching sites.

Through a powerful collaboration of state and national partners, “Wear It Michigan!” represents
a unique opportunity to “move the needle” on life jacket wear rates in southeast Michigan – a
sure way to save lives this boating season and beyond. Through innovative and creative
campaign efforts, we anticipate that “Wear It Michigan!” will become a familiar phrase – both
dockside and on the boats of thousands who head to Michigan waters this summer.

We welcome the support of the community as we work to make the Detroit metropolitan area
and Michigan as a whole a national example of boating safety.

                                                 Lt. Andrew Turner
                                                 State Boating Law Administrator
                                                 Michigan Department of Natural Resources

                                                                                                WEAR IT!
   National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

“Wear It Michigan!” Campaign Partners
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection,
management, use and enjoyment of the State’s natural resources for current and future
generations, a role it has relished since creation of the original Conservation Department in 1921.
Its primary mission is to protect and conserve the state’s natural resources, and to promote
diverse outdoor recreational opportunities, wildlife and fisheries management, management of
state parks and recreation areas, state lands and minerals, forest management and wildfire
protection, and conservation law enforcement.

Visit for more information.

U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division
The U.S. Coast Guard is asking all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries,
property damage, and associated healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by
taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. Essential
steps include: always wear a life jacket and require passengers to do the same; never boat under
the influence (BUI); successfully complete a boating safety course; and get a Vessel Safety
Check (VSC) annually from the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power
Squadron®, or your state boating agency’s Vessel Examiners. The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all
boaters, “Boat Responsibly!”

For more information, visit

National Safe Boating Council (NSBC)
The National Safe Boating Council ( consists of more than 330
U.S. and Canadian organizations, committed to reducing boating accidents and enhancing the
boating experience. The North American Safe Boating Campaign is produced by the National
Safe Boating Council, in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law
Administrators, in collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard and the Canadian Safe Boating
Council. The campaign is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating
(Wallop-Breaux) Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Visit for campaign materials and additional safe boating

                                                                                                WEAR IT!
   National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  CONTACT: Lt. Andrew Turner
May 12, 2009                                                                    517-373-7109
                                                                                Richard Morscheck

                               Safe Boating Week and
                      „Wear It Michigan!‟ Campaign Announced
        Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has declared May 16-22 as Safe Boating Week in Michigan, and
Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials welcomed the declaration as an opportunity to
remind all water sport enthusiasts of the importance of safe boating and to announce the kickoff of the
DNR’s “Wear It Michigan!” campaign.
        Michigan’s Safe Boating Week runs concurrent with National Safe Boating Week, which is
coordinated each year by the National Safe Boating Council and its boating safety partners across the U.S.
and Canada to promote the value of life jacket wear by recreational boaters. This year’s theme is, “Wear
It!” referring to the increased focus on life jacket wear and education of new styles of life jackets,
including inflatables.
        “Wear it Michigan!” is a simple reminder to encourage everyone to stay safe on the water by
always wearing a life jacket,” said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. “We are pleased to partner with
the National Safe Boating Council to bring this important message to the thousands of water enthusiasts
who will be on the Detroit River and Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair this summer.”
        The kickoff for the DNR’s “Wear It Michigan!” campaign will be held at Sterling State Park on
Lake Erie Saturday, May 23, at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend to learn more about safer boating
and life jackets as well as meet those individuals who will be running the “Wear It!” campaign this
        “Each year, 400-500 lives could have been saved if boaters had worn their life jackets,” said
Virgil Chambers, Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council. "New life jackets on the
market today are comfortable, lightweight and perfect for any boating activity. Don’t just carry a life
jacket -- wear it!”
          The most recent statistics released by the U.S. Coast Guard indicate that 90 percent of boaters
who drowned in 2007 were NOT wearing their life jackets.

                                                                                                   WEAR IT!
   National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

        During the DNR’s “Wear It Michigan!” campaign this summer, special teams of state
conservation officers will be out on the water in a specially marked “Wear It Michigan!” boat asking
boaters they meet to take the “Wear It!” Pledge. Everyone who signs a pledge card will be entered in a
weekly drawing to win a manual inflatable (Type III) life jacket that will have a “Wear It!” rubber logo
sewn onto the life jacket.
        The “Wear It Michigan!” campaign schedule also includes stops at Tri-Centennial State Park and
Harbor on the Detroit River, and the Erie Metropark and Lake St. Clair Metropark, plus the Wyandotte
boat launch in Trenton, the Riverfront Marina in Monroe, Bolles Harbor in La Salle and the Ecorse boat
launch. The conservation officers also will be on hand at the Red Bull Air Race at Tri-Centennial State
Park, June 11-14; the Freedom Festival Fireworks, June 22; the Gold Cup Hydroplane Races, July 9-12:
and the Port Huron to Mackinac Race, July 23-26. The complete schedule is attached and can also be
found at
        The DNR’s report on the 2008 boating season in Michigan shows 36 fatalities in 31 fatal
accidents statewide. Of those, 28 people drowned. Only two of those boaters were wearing life jackets.
        “There’s no question that life jackets save lives,” said Lt. Andrew Turner, DNR Law
Enforcement Division. “Safe Boating Week is only one week, but the DNR’s safety message to boaters
applies throughout the year.”
        The DNR’s 2008 report indicates 201 recreational boating accidents resulted in 115 injuries and
more than $937,000 in property damage. Open motorboats and personal watercraft accounted for 160 of
the total 256 vessels involved in accidents, and alcohol use was a factor in 26 accidents. Most accidents in
2008 happened on Sunday afternoons in July.
        For more information on recreational boating safety and to learn more about the “Wear It
Michigan!” campaign, visit the DNR Web site at and click on the “Wear It!”
button on the front page.
        The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the
state's natural resources for current and future generations.
        The National Safe Boating Council represents over 330 U.S. and Canadian organizations
committed to reducing boating accidents and enhancing the boating experience. Visit for campaign materials and additional safe boating resources.

                                                                                                 WEAR IT!
   National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

    “Wear It Michigan!” Campaign Highlights
            “Wear It Michigan!” is a program in which a collaboration between national and
             state partners -- including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the
             U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Safe Boating Council -- has formed to
             advance boating safety and life jacket wear in southeast Michigan, that area of the
             state where most residents live and where most boating accidents occur.

            The campaign chose the Detroit River, Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair for several
             reasons. Stretching 32 miles in length, the Detroit River is part of the connecting
             channels linking Lake Erie to Lake Huron. It serves as a source of drinking water
             for approximately five million people, is a key link for commerce in the Great
             Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system, and provides countless benefits for
             recreation. In 2008, Lake St. Clair was recorded as the body of water with the
             most accidents. From a recreational perspective, Lake St. Clair is among the most
             heavily utilized portions of the Great Lakes. More than 15 percent of all
             registered boats in Michigan are registered in the three counties adjacent to Lake
             St. Clair, which also includes more than 200 marinas. There were 46 accidents
             recorded on the Great Lakes in 2008 – including Lake Erie. These selected
             waters for the campaign are critical spots to educate and inform about life jacket

            The “Wear It Michigan!” campaign launches during National Safe Boating Week
             (May 16 – 22) and continues throughout the summer months. The Kickoff Event
             will be held May 23 at Sterling State Park on Lake Erie near Monroe.

            The joint effort will utilize a full range of marketing strategies and tools to
             promote key messages regarding the importance of wearing – and not just stowing
             – life jackets on board one’s boat. Promotion will include radio and theater
             advertising, water events, signage at boat ramps and marinas, media stories, retail
             displays, and more!

            A new, customized Zodiac patrol vessel, donated by Zodiac and Mil Pro Marine
             and manned by trained DNR Law Enforcement staff, will cruise the Detroit River,
             Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair throughout the summer.

            The “Wear It Michigan!” campaign is truly unique in that it is the first targeted
             campaign by a natural resource agency that will use their Law Enforcement
             Division to man the campaign rather than their education personnel.

                                                                                             WEAR IT!
National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

            Throughout the campaign, more than 400 inflatable life jackets will be given
             away, free of charge, to boaters who pledge to wear them at all times while

            The “Wear It Michigan!” campaign will host its very own Web site:
    There, the general public can obtain more
             information on campaign activities and updates, safety information, and campaign

            “Wear It Michigan!” is promoting two national campaign contests: the “Be a
             Survivor: Wear It!” contest, sponsored by West Marine and the “Float Yourself
             Floato Contest” contest where the winner will receive an iPod Nano.

            Mil Pro Marine, Zodiac, Belle Tire, McDonalds, and West Marine are the first
             Community Partners to sign up in support of the “Wear It Michigan!” campaign.
             Additional partners are anticipated to join this effort throughout the summer.

            At the end of the campaign season, there will be one final drawing taken from the
             pledge cards received throughout the summer. These final prizes will be
             determined and announced this summer – please check back at
    for more details.

                                                                                             WEAR IT!
National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

Recreational Boating Safety Facts
All figures are from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Statistics: 2007, the latest official record of
reported recreational boating accidents. The full report is available online at

      Drowning was reported as the cause of death in two-thirds of all fatalities.

      Approximately 90 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

      Capsizing and falls overboard are the most reported types of fatal accidents and
       accounted for the vast majority (78 percent) of all boating fatalities.

      Alcohol use was either a direct or indirect contributing factor in approximately one-fifth
       of all boating fatalities.

      Sixteen children age 12 and under lost their lives while boating. Half (eight) of the
       children died from drowning.

      Operator inattention, carelessness/reckless operation, passenger/skier behavior, excessive
       speed and alcohol use rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.

      Approximately 85 percent of reported fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had
       not received boating safety instruction, a 15 percent increase over previous years.

National Recreational Boating Statistics

      Fatalities: 685

      Drownings: 476

      Injuries (requiring medical treatment beyond first aid): 3,673

      Boating Accidents: 5,191

      Property Damage: $53,106,496

      Number of registered recreational boats in the U.S.: 12,875,568

                                                                                                WEAR IT!
   National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

                           Top-Ranking States for Boating Deaths

          RANK                      STATE                            TOTAL DEATHS
            1      Florida                                                 75
            2      California                                              55
            3      Texas                                                   46
            4      Michigan                                                34
            5      Louisiana                                               30
            6      Washington                                              26
            7      New York                                                21
            8      North Carolina                                          19
            9                                                              18
                   Wisconsin (tie)
           10                                                              17
                   Tennessee (tie)

                   Top-Ranking States for Reported Boating Accidents

          RANK                      STATE                          TOTAL ACCIDENTS
            1      Florida                                                 663
            2      California                                              601
            3      Texas                                                   197
            4      Michigan                                                185
            5      New York                                                180
            6      Maryland                                                170
            7      Missouri                                                168
            8      Arizona                                                 167
            9      North Carolina                                          158
           10      Tennessee                                               146

                                                                                             WEAR IT!
National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

Boating Statistics in Michigan
Michigan has more than 931,000 registered watercraft. That’s about one boat for every four
households in the state. Boat registrations grew steadily from the mid-1970s through 2000, when
Michigan reported the most registered boats in the nation. Since then Michigan has fallen behind
Florida and California. In 2003, it was estimated that Michigan registered boats accounted for
19.1 million boating days, with 13.2 million on inland waters and 5.9 million on the Great Lakes.
This does not take into account the millions of boating days by the estimated hundreds of
thousands of unregistered craft (non-motorized canoes, kayaks, rowboats, rafts and paddle
boats). Registered boaters spent an estimated $1.4 billion on Michigan boating trips in 2003.


*All figures are the latest available information from Michigan Boating Accident Statistical
Report: 2008, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division’s most
recent publication on reported recreational boating accidents.

• The total number of reported accidents (excluding fatals) in 2008 was 127. That was an
increase from 2007, which had 125.

• The total number of boating accidents (including fatals) in 2008 was 201.

• The monetary amount of damage resulting from boating accidents in 2008 was $937,069.
This was an increase from 2007, which reported $594,742.


• The number of boating fatalities for 2008 was 36. This was an increase from 2007, which
reported 35.

• The number of total fatal accidents for 2008 was 31. This was the same as in 2007.


• The number of serious injuries in 2008 was 115 people. This was an increase from 2007,
which reported 105.


• The type of accident that most commonly resulted in boating accidents was inexperience,
which was the cause for 33 accidents and other/unknown, which was the cause for 47 accidents.
                                                                                               WEAR IT!
  National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

Today‟s Life Jacket: Style, Variety and Comfort
Most boaters know they’re required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for
every passenger on their vessel. Boating safety advocates recommend that all boaters and
passengers not only have a life jacket, but “Wear It!” at all times while boating.

Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. Of
those who died in boating accidents in 2007, over two-thirds drowned – and 90 percent of those
who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.

The good news is that today’s life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight, and stylish
than the bulky orange style most boaters know. Life jackets that use inflatable technologies are
cool and comfortable. They may resemble a pair of suspenders or a belt pack. Many inflate
automatically when immersed in water.

Other life jacket styles are available for almost any boating activity:

For fishing: Vest-style life jackets come with features such as pockets and clips to replace the
fishing vest and keep the angler safe.

For personal watercraft and water sports: Inherently buoyant lighter-weight life jackets are
rugged, with multiple buckles and clasps to keep them secure after impact with the water.

For hunting and cold weather: Full coats and suits are available in camouflage colors for
waterfowl hunting and for those who boat when air and water temperatures are cool.

For paddling: Special life jackets are designed with large openings for arms to allow ease of

For children: Virtually all styles are available sized especially for children – some with cartoon
characters, straps for pulling children from the water, and high-visibility schemes.

For pets: Life jackets are even available for our four-legged friends.

No matter what the activity or style chosen, the most important thing is this: remember to grab
your life jacket and “Wear It!”

                                                                                                WEAR IT!
   National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

How to Choose the Right Life Jacket
Looking for a life jacket? Today’s jackets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and
materials. No matter which life jacket you choose, be sure it’s right for YOU, your planned
activities, and the water conditions you expect to encounter.

Try It On
   Check the manufacturer’s ratings for your size and weight.
   Make sure the jacket is properly zipped or buckled.
   Raise your arms straight up over your head while wearing your life jacket and ask a friend to
    grasp the tops of the arm openings, gently pulling up.
   If there is excess room above the openings and the jacket rides up over your chin or face, it
    does NOT fit properly. A snug fit in these areas signals a properly fitting life jacket.

Fit Facts
   It is extremely important that you choose a properly fitting life jacket.
   Jackets that are too big will cause the flotation device to push up around your face, which
    could be dangerous.
   Jackets that are too small will not be able to keep your body afloat.

Important Reminders
   Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
   Double check that your jacket is appropriate for your favorite boating activities.
   Take the time to ensure a proper fit.
   Life jackets meant for adults do not work for children. If you are boating with children, make
    sure they are wearing properly fitted, child-sized life jackets.
   Michigan law requires all children under 6 years of age to wear a USCG-approved Type I or
    II PFD when riding on the open deck of any vessel.
   Each person under 12 years of age riding on or towed behind a PWC must wear a USCG-
    approved Type I or Type II personal flotation device.
   Each person over 12 years of age riding on or towed behind a PWC must wear a USCG-
    approved Type I, II, or III personal flotation device.
   Inflatable PFDs are not allowed on PWCs.

For more information, see the Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities, which
can be accessed on the front page at

                                                                                                 WEAR IT!
    National Safe Boating Council  PH: (703) 361.4294  FX: (703) 361.5294 

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