One of the fun activities to do in Big Bear Lake is to take a boat, kayak or Jet Ski out on the lake and since the boating season officially begins this Memorial Day weekend there are a few things to remember before you set sail. It is always important to be courteous to other boaters and adhere to boating safety standards and guidelines. Boating safety advocates across the U.S. and Canada have teamed up to promote safe and responsible boating during the 2014 National Safe Boating Week, which started last Saturday, May 17th and ends today, May 23rd.

National Safe Boating Week is the official launch of the 2014 North American Safe Boating Campaign, a yearlong campaign that promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, “Wear It!” Most boaters know they’re required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for every passenger on their boat. Boating safety advocates recommend that all boaters and passengers not only have a life jacket, but “Wear It!” AT ALL TIMES while boating.

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2012, and that 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. That is why all passengers should wear a life jacket. California was ranked #2 in the number of reported boating accidents in 2012 with 365. That number increased to 426 in 2013. The Golden State was also ranked #2 in boating deaths in 2012 with 49 fatalities. That number decreased to 37 in 2013.

Today’s life jackets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and materials, making them comfortable, stylish and easy to wear. In fact, they don’t even have to be jackets anymore. Old-fashioned, bulk orange life jackets have been replaced with innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets that allow mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, and paddling and are much cooler in the warmer weather.