Washington State Parks boating program launches Paddle Safe Week

Washington State Parks boating program launches Paddle Safe Week

As the popularity of paddlesports grows and rates of accidents increase, Washington State Parks’ Boating Program is leading a statewide awareness effort to promote safe paddling while having fun on the water.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2017 statistics, 138 people died while kayaking or canoeing, and 90 percent of those fatalities were due to drowning. In many incidents, like jackets were on board but not worn. Since 2012, close to half of all boating fatalities in Washington state involved paddlecraft.

The top factors contributing to fatal accidents were failure to wear a life jacket, operator inattention and inexperience, alcohol and drug use, hazardous waters, weather conditions and navigation rule violations.

During Paddle Safe Week, State Parks will post regular messages about safe paddling on its social media channels — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The Boating Program encourages paddlers to share their photos and use the following hashtags: #PaddleSafeWeek, #PaddleSmart, #PaddleSafe, #PaddleSober, #PaddlePrepared, #PaddleToBeSeen.