by Arkansas News Service
Little Rock, AR – Arkansas Safety Officials are reminding people who are celebrating Memorial Day on the water to watch children closely.
The Arkansas Infant and Child Death Review Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital says Arkansas ranks 7th in the U.S. for drowning-related deaths among children younger than 17, and that rate is 60 percent higher than the national average.
Sergeant Al Bavarska works in marine safety law enforcement. He says most people who drown in a boating or personal watercraft accident would be alive if they had been wearing a life jacket.
One life jacket is required for each person on a watercraft, and kids younger than age six must be wearing one at all times, per Arkansas state requirements. On a personal watercraft or jet ski, a life jacket is necessary for those riding or being towed.
Before heading out on the water for the season, he encourages boaters to ensure the equipment on their vessel is operating correctly, including the battery, fire extinguisher, and navigational lights.