SEATTLE – Ready, Set, Wear It! Life Jacket World Record Day is this Saturday, May 20, and it’s the kickoff of National Safe Boating Week. Washington State Parks Boating Program, the United States Coast Guard and Washington State Ferries have joined forces to set a new record for the greatest number of people wearing life jackets in a single location. With the public’s help and 1,500 life jackets at the ready aboard the brand new state ferry, Chimacum, the current record of 1,046 life jacket wearers, is in serious jeopardy.
The purpose of the “Ready, Set, Wear It!” life jacket campaign and world record day is to create awareness of boating safety and to increase use of life jackets in all boating activities. According to the National Safe Boating Council, Japan’s Marine Sports Foundation set the world record for the most life jackets worn at a single event during their “Ready, Set, Wear it!” event on May, 17, 2014. In the U.S., the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection set the national record in 2016 with 394 people wearing life jackets at one time.
“Our state ferry system may very well be the safest in the world, and while you don’t need to wear a life jacket while aboard a ferry, we want the boaters who we share our state’s waters to be just as safe by wearing their life jackets while on their small boats,” said ferries head Amy Scarton.
“We appreciate the partnership with Washington State Ferries and the U.S. Coast Guard in promoting this important campaign,” said State Parks Boating Law Administrator, Wade Alonzo. “Encouraging a culture of safety is key for individuals and families to enjoy a lifetime of exploring the diverse waterways Washington has to offer. Life jackets are the single most effective piece of safety gear on your boat, but they only work if you wear them.”
How to participate
· Join the “wear it” life jacket event aboard the Chimacum while it’s moored at Seattle’s Colman Dock at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20.
· The event is open to the first 1,500 people who show up. Life jackets will be provided.
· If joining the event from Bainbridge by ferry, the following sailings are recommended: 8:45 a.m. for those who drive aboard, or 9:45 a.m. if walking on.
· If arriving from Bremerton by ferry, the 7:20 a.m. sailing is recommended for those who drive aboard, or 8:45 a.m. if walking on.
· Every participant will receive a limited edition souvenir to prove they took part in the event and could also win a free life jacket.