Search and rescue demonstration a highlight of Koko Marina expo

HONOLULU — Several agencies tasked with promoting boating safety across the state will gather this weekend in Hawaii Kai to help mark the beginning of National Safe Boating Week.

Two weeks ago, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann signed proclamations celebrating May 17-23 as Safe Boating Week in Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu. The celebration is part of a national program sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Boating Safety Partnership of Hawaii will stage “Koko Marina Boating Fun Fest” near Koko Marina Shopping Center, Saturday, May 16, 2009 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Events open to the public include a Coast Guard search and rescue demonstration, free vessel safety checks, “Coastie” the Safety Boat, life jacket fittings, man overboard demonstration, music, food, games The event will help teach citizens of all ages about boating safety.

According to national statistics, 700 people drown each year from recreational boating accidents. Of the 710 recreational boating fatalities in the U.S. in 2007, only 10 percent of the victims were wearing life jackets.

It is imperative boaters wear life jackets at all times while on the water. Hawaii law requires all children under the age of 13 to wear life jackets when underway on a boat.

Life jackets are no longer the orange, hot and bulky vests that are commonly associated with water safety gear. New innovations and developments have produced smaller, sleeker and more comfortable versions of life jackets.

This year during National Safe Boating Week, and throughout the boating season, remember to practice safe and responsible boating. Always wear a life jacket, and be alert and aware while on the water. The Coast Guard reminds mariners that safe boating saves lives.

The theme of this year’s campaign is, “Boat Smart. Boat Safe. WEAR IT” For more boating safety information, please visit www.safeboatingcouncil.org or www.uscgboating.org.

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