Wear a lifejacket and get a reward
The Nevada Division of Wildlife is on patrol looking for safe boaters this summer with rewards in hand.
Beginning today and continuing through Labor Day, NDOW officers will randomly stop boats on Nevada waterways. If everyone in the boat is wearing a life vest, the “safe boat” will receive an envelope containing certificates for free merchandise or cash up to $1,000.
“We know that rewarding a child for good grades is a better motivator (than punishment for bad grades),” said NDOW spokeswoman Rhonda Hendrix, explaining the reasoning behind the “It Pays To Wear Your Life Jacket” campaign during a press conference at Lake Tahoe’s Sand Harbor boat ramp.
An average 800 people die in boating accidents each year nationwide, most by drowning.
“Ninety percent of those could be alive today if they were wearing lifejackets,” said Fred Messmann, NDOW boating law administrator.
The Boat Owners Association of the United States estimates as many as 50 people could lose their lives this Memorial Day Weekend.
NDOW hopes to stop the trend by encouraging people to go beyond the laws that require lifejackets in the boat and actually wear them. You never know when you might be thrown into the water.
Recently, 11 people including five children were involved in a three-way boating collision on Lake Mead.
“Fortunately, all five children were wearing lifejackets,” Messmann said. “At the moment of impact all were put into the water. It could have been a very different story had they not already been wearing their lifejackets.”
Modern lifejackets are no longer bulky and restrictive, he pointed out. They’re even becoming stylish.
And handing out rewards for wearing them is more rewarding to officers than handing out citations.
“Law enforcement looks, not to spoil your day, we want boating fun to be fun,” he said. “It’s upsetting to our officers to see families on the lake without life jackets. This campaign is to encourage people to voluntarily wear life jackets.”
The “It Pays To Wear Your Life Jacket” campaign is being co-sponsored by Tahoe-Carson Area Newspapers/Reno.com/Tahoe.com; Port of Subs; Mandalay Resort Group; Citadel Broadcasting, Reno; KRNV-TV, Reno; The Reno Gazette-Journal; Reno News & Review; Infinity Broadcasting, Las Vegas; and KVBC-TV, Las Vegas.
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