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Utah’s 2009 boating season had barely begun when deadly reminders of the need to be vigilant about safety cropped up. On April 25th, a boat with 6 passengers sank in one of Utah’s most popular boating destinations, Lake Powell. Two people survived but the deaths of the other 4 were among a handful of early season boating deaths.

According to a story on, Utah authorities report that approximately 50 percent of boating deaths last year could have been prevented with the appropriate use of life vests, and all of the deaths as of the date of the report could have been prevented if life vest had been used. Boating coordinators for Utah State Parks also offered the following tips:

All boats used on Utah’s waterways must carry basic safety equipment, which includes:
– A properly sized U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board. It’s the law for everyone 12 and under, those boating on a river, riding on a personal watercraft and being towed behind a vessel.
– Bucket or bilge pump
– A spare paddle, oar or extra motor
– Horn or whistle
– Marine approved, fire extinguisher for motorboats with gasoline or diesel engines
– At least one throwable life preserver on board boats 16 feet or longer
– Navigation lights for operation between sunset and sunrise

State parks officials are so adamant about the need to wear life vests that they launched a campaign called "Wear It, Utah." The value of life vests cannot be underestimated – watch this:

And this:


One more:

Perhaps a bit repetitive but here is why the message is so important:

Please take a few minutes before you head out on the water to make sure all of your boating safety mechanisms are up-to-date and in place – the lives of your family and friends may depend on it.

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