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WHEREAS, nearly 100 million Americans each year enjoy boating on our nation’s waterways, including many residents of Virginia who take advantage of the exceptional opportunities to fish, swim, ski and cruise on local ponds, lakes, and rivers; and
WHEREAS, Virginia has several hundred thousand registered boats and jet skis; and
WHEREAS, recreational boating is fun and enjoyable when approached with a “Safety First” attitude; and
WHEREAS, on average, 600 people die each year across the nation in boating-related accidents, and about 79 percent of these fatalities are caused by drowning; and
WHEREAS, the vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error or poor judgment and not by the boat, equipment, or environmental factors; and
WHEREAS, boating safety knowledge provided through an approved course, which is mandatory for most boat operators in Virginia, provides an excellent foundation to manage the risks of boating; and
WHEREAS, a clear statement of Virginia’s required equipment, operating rules, unlawful acts, and safety concerns may be found in the Boater’s Guide section of Department of Wildlife Resources’ Freshwater Fishing & Boating in Virginia, January-December 2021; and
WHEREAS, taking proper safety measures, like wearing life jackets while boating, could reduce the total number of boaters who lose their lives by drowning each year; and
WHEREAS, modern life jackets are more comfortable, attractive, and wearable than styles of years past and deserve a fresh look by today’s boating public;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize May 22-28, 2021, as VIRGINIA SAFE BOATING WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.