May 11, 2023

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is urging all who recreate on Arizona’s waters to wear a life jacket, follow safety regulations and laws, as well as designate a sober operator. 

So far in 2023, three people have lost their lives boating in Arizona. In 2022, boating accidents claimed the lives of 13 people, injured 60 more, and caused $1 million in damages.   

“A life jacket does exactly what it says — it saves your life when you need it,” said Danny Rodriguez, watercraft law enforcement programs coordinator. “However, it can only save your life if you’re wearing one, and often it’s too late to put one on once you realize you need it.” 

According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, in cases where the cause of death has been determined, 86% of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket. AZGFD once again is stressing the importance of wearing a life jacket and focusing on safe boating practices as another busy boating season gets underway. 

To promote the use of life jackets, as well as kick off National Safe Boating Week (May 20-26),  AZGFD and partner agencies will begin a series of summer life jacket exchange events. Those who have an old, worn out, or improperly fitting life jacket will be able to exchange it for a new one, free of charge (while supplies last). 

“Like anything else, life jackets wear out with time, and these exchange events are a great opportunity for Arizona’s boaters and paddlers to ensure they have a life jacket that not only fits correctly, but is in great condition and ready should they need it,” said Josh Hoffman, boating safety education coordinator.

Exchange locations Saturday, May 20:

Exchange locations Saturday, June 3:

Exchange locations Friday, June, 9:

Exchange locations Saturday, June 10

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