Kearney –Memorial Day is just around the corner - that means summer fun, swimming, barbeques and boating. Being smart while having fun is the focus of National Safe Boating Week.
On Saturday Cabela's of Kearney invited in the staff of the Hastings YMCA and presented them with life jackets for the children who will be participating in their educational SPLASH Program this week.
During National Safe Boating Week, the Hastings YMCA offers free classes daily for youth ages six to 13 to teach them about all aspects of water safety.
"We are very grateful to have this donation," said Lorraine Atwater, YMCA's Aquatics Coordinator. "Just last week we had to throw away 5 of our old life jackets that were in disrepair."
The goal of SPLASH week is to teach water safety in many environments that youth usually experience.
Classes start with a concentration on public pools, then home pools, lakes, rivers, boats and water parks. Students are not only taught how to care for their own safety, but how to assist others who may be in trouble. They are shown all types of everyday products that can be used as flotation devices and even get to experience a canoe ride in the YMCA's pool.
SPLASH Week coincides with National Safe Boating Week, which always takes place before Memorial Day weekend.
According to NOAA's website, "this year, more than 80 million Americans will enjoy boating with friends and family. The National Safe Boating Council and the NOAA's National Weather Service have partnered to support boating safety by creating relevant, weather and safety-specific public service announcements for National Safe Boating Week, which runs from May 18 to 24."
"We want boaters to stay safe on the water. The goal of our collaborative effort is to encourage boaters to follow proper boating safety precautions, including ensuring everyone is wearing a properly fitted, USCG-approved life jacket, and being aware of the local weather forecast," said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council.
Cabela's kicked of Safe Boating Week last Friday, May 17, by participating in "Wear Your Life jacket to Work Day."
Many employees took part in this interactive awareness campaign.
"We want to make sure that our customers are aware of the state life jacket regulations," stated Zack Zaczkowski, Cabela's General Manager. "We also advocate wearing one (life jacket) at all times when boating."
Nebraska regulations require that every vessel except sailboards, including any buoyant device capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, shall carry one U.S. Coast Guard-approved Life Preserver for each person on board. Any persons under the age of 13 or anyone being towed on skis or similar devices are required to wear one at all times.