Polk Middle School students learn about flotation devices

Published 11:16 am Monday, May 18, 2015



As the summer temps heat up and water temperatures continue to rise, people migrate to the public waters of the state to cool down and relax.  Keeping everyone safe on the water is one of the major goals of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Law Enforcement Division.

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The commission, with the assistance from Green River Adventures and Wilderness Cove tubing in Saluda, demonstrated the proper way to wear a personal flotation device (PFD), or life jacket, to approximately 170 sixth graders at Polk County Middle School.  The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Polk County Parks and Recreation also attended the event.


Although Lake Adger is the only publicly accessible Lake in Polk County, the Green River is one of the most popular rivers in Western North Carolina for canoeing, kayaking and tubing.  Wilderness Cove tubing provided about 170 PFD’s for the kids and Green River Adventures in Saluda brought several different types of canoes, kayaks and stand up boards (SUB).


Sgt. Toby Jenkins, with the commission, emphasizes the importance of wearing a PFD on the water.  State law requires anyone on board a vessel under the age of 13 to wear a PFD unless the vessel is tied up or anchored.  One wearable PFD must be on board for each person on the vessel. This applies to canoes, kayaks and other vessels as well as motorboats.


“The only fatalities we have had in Polk County in the past 20 years on Lake Adger were drownings that could have been prevented by wearing a PFD,” Jenkins said. “If we can prevent one loss of life by proactively educating the public about safety on the water then we’ve done our job.”


May 15 was the nationwide kick-off for promoting safe boating for the summer. Safeboatingcampaign.org is a national non-profit organization that promotes boating safety.
Boaters, whether new or experienced, love the adventure and fun of a day spent on the water. However, accidents can happen quickly – so don’t just carry a life jacket – wear it. Most boating fatalities are drownings, and 84 percent of those who drown while boating were reported as not wearing a life jacket. New styles are available that are comfortable, lightweight and perfect for any boating activity or sport.


May 16-22 is National Safe Boating Week. Celebrate by always wearing your life jacket every time you boat. Ask your friends and family to do the same! Visit safeboatingcampiagn.com for more info.


For more information on boating in North Carolina visit www.ncwildlife.org.


– Submitted by Sgt. Toby L. Jenkins