Local Information

Hundreds of ferry commuters to take part in massive life jacket drill

Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 08:50

Kathy Mesa, WSF communications, 206-389-8518      
Christina Fremont, State Parks Boating Program communications, 360-902-8837
Coast Guard 13th District, 206-220-7237

SEATTLE — Ferry passengers on the 7:20 a.m. sailing from Bremerton to Seattle are in for a unique ride to work Friday, May 18. As part of Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day  the Washington State Parks Boating Program, the Coast Guard and Washington State Ferries have teamed up to host a ‘Wear It’ event aboard the state ferry, Walla Walla.

Hundreds of ferry passengers in life jackets will gather for a mass life jacket selfie on the ferry as it crosses from Bremerton to Seattle. Participation is voluntary, but if passengers join in this first ever event, they could win a prize —including a kayak donated by Lifetime Products.

“Washington State Ferries has an incredible safety record and we still carry life jackets for every passenger. It’s not necessary to wear a life jacket while aboard a ferry unless directed by the crew in the case of an emergency,” said WSF Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton.

In 2016, 93 percent of fatal recreational boating accident victims in Washington state drowned. Of those, 70 percent were not wearing a life jacket. According to the Coast Guard, wearing life jacket is the simplest life-saving strategy for recreational boaters. This ‘Wear It’ event provides a fun way to heighten life jacket awareness prior to peak boating season.

“We want recreational boaters to know that life jackets don’t limit your ability to have fun,” said Wade Alonzo, State Parks Boating Law Administrator. “Events like this help our program introduce today’s modern life jacket designs. Many are thin, flexible and so comfortable you forget you’re wearing it. We hope people will be inspired to shop around for a life jacket they’ll actually use, because a life jacket only works if you wear it.”

National Safe Boating Week, which begins Saturday, May 19, is the official kickoff of the annual Safe Boating Campaign, now in its 60th year.

How to participate:
The public is invited to join the ‘Wear It’ life jacket event aboard the Walla Walla Friday, May 18, departing from the Bremerton Ferry Terminal at 7:20 a.m. Life jackets will be provided. All participants will be entered to win a free inflatable life jacket (valued at $100), inherently buoyant life jacket (valued at $25) or a kayak. Please plan to arrive at the terminal at least 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure. Regular ferry fares apply.

For those who can’t attend the ferry event but would still like to show their commitment to on-the-water safety, Washington State Ferries and partners encourage people to wear their life jackets to work May 18. Take selfies in your life jacket and post them to social media using the following hashtags: #WearItWA, #lifejacket2work, #safeboating and #safepaddling.

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries 24 million people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world. For breaking news and the latest information, follow WSF on Twitter.

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