News Release

For Immediate Release
Stacey Brown, Recreational Boating Safety Manager, 804-308-6114

NOTE: This news release was distributed on 5/16/2014. The information below may no longer be the most up-to-date information available, or may pertain solely to events that occurred in the past. Please contact the person listed as the contact person for this release for the most current information.

National Safe Boating Week May 17-23, 2014 - Time to Remember Life Jackets Save Lives

Richmond, VA — National Safe Boating Week is May 17 - 23, 2014, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is reminding all boaters to remember some important safety tips this boating season. One of the best ways for boaters to stay safe is to always wear a life jacket while on the water. A significant number of boaters who lose their lives by drowning each year would be alive today had they worn their life jackets. The VDGIF wants boaters to "Wear It" - make a commitment to wear their life jackets at all times while on the water.

While getting ready for the boating season, boat owners need to make sure they have life jackets in good condition that fit every occupant of the boat, including children. There are numerous life jacket designs that appeal to youngsters, and by getting them involved in the selection they are more likely to wear one without a fuss. Inflatable life jackets make it easy for adults to "Wear It" while enjoying their time on the water and being a good role model for young people on their boats.

Before you head out on the water, remember to take a boating safety course! Virginia's Boating Safety Education Compliance Requirement states boaters must take a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by VDGIF. This requirement is being phased in over the next several years and applies to all Personal Watercraft (PWC) operators and operators of boats with motors of 10hp and greater. Currently, all PWC operators age 14 and older and motorboat operators 40 and younger must complete a boating safety education course and have proof of that in their possession while operating a boat or PWC. The next important date is July 1, 2014, when all motorboat operators age 45 and younger will be required to complete a boating safety education course and carry proof of that in their possession while operating the vessel.

Our optional Lifetime Virginia Boating Safety Education Card is available to those who meet the boating safety education requirement. This durable, 'driver's-license' styled card is available for a fee of $10.00. You can get an application by visiting our website:

To learn more about boating laws in Virginia and about boating safety education courses, visit the Department's website at: Remember, everyone wants to have a safe, enjoyable day on the water. Do your part by wearing your life jacket and taking a boating safety education course. Be responsible, be safe, and have fun!