Lifejacket Fashion Show Puts the Spotlight on “Summer’s Coolest Accessory”
DNR Secretary joins Miss Teen Maryland on the catwalk to promote boating safety
ANNAPOLIS, MD — With the Sandy Point State Park marina dock as the “catwalk,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary C. Ronald Franks and Assistant Secretary Mike Slattery were joined today by Miss Teen Maryland 2004, Hannah Freymeyer, DNR staff and their families for a lifejacket fashion show.
The event, held at Sandy Point State Park, kicks off National Safe Boating Week and our state’s corresponding week, May 22-28, which highlights the need for boaters to take command of their safety by wearing a life jacket or Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) at all times while on the water.
According to the Natural Resources Police (NRP) who have jurisdiction over state waters, Maryland loses more than a dozen people every year to boating related fatalities, most of which could have been prevented if a lifejacket had been worn.
“All Maryland boaters should realize that wearing their life jackets greatly reduces their chance of drowning,” said Col. Tammy Broll, Acting Superintendent of the Natural Resources Police. “Many boaters have their PFDs on board their boat, but what we’re stressing today is that people need to wear their life jacket at all times while on the water.”
During the show, each of the 10 models wore a lifejacket provided courtesy of BoatU.S. Foundation and portrayed a particular incidence or scenario in which a person should be wearing a life jacket. The models in order of appearance were:
- Kenny Keen, Assistant Director DNR Fisheries Service
- Heather Lynch, DNR Media Relations Manager, and her dog Baylee
- Mike Slattery, DNR Assistant Secretary for Forests, Parks, Fish and Wildlife
- Hannah Freymeyer, Miss Teen Maryland 2004
- Monique and Jordan Offer, wife and son of NRP Officer Joe Offer
- Kristen Fleming, an expectant mother who works for DNR’s Boat Pump Out Program
- C. Ronald Franks, DNR Secretary
- Neal Welch, DNR Western Regional Planner
- Julie Brown, NRP Boating Safety Education Coordinator
- Sherry and Andrew Naylor, wife and son of DNR Environmental Specialist Mike Naylor
“Not only did I enjoy my turn on the catwalk, but I am thrilled with the positive message we are promoting this year for Safe Boating Week,” said DNR Secretary Franks. “It takes no time at all to put on a lifejacket and the impact is immeasurable – it could save someone’s life. I plan on wearing ‘Summer’s Coolest Accessory’ all season long.”
There is a lifejacket for every occasion including boating, fishing, hunting and swimming. Some activities, such as water skiing, jet skiing and kayaking, require a lifejacket in order for the activity to be legal. All of these situations were addressed during the fashion show. In addition, inflatable lifejackets made a big splash during the event. These lifejackets are gaining in popularity due to their comfort factor and ease of use.
“People often think that lifejackets are too expensive, but it’s easy to get into a lifejacket for the same price as what you would pay for a new fishing rod or a night’s stay at a marina. The best lifejacket you can have is the one you wear – you can’t put a price on your life,” said Chris Edmonston, assistant vice president and director of safety education programs for BoatU.S. Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting safe and environmentally sensitive boating. “BoatU.S Foundation is happy to work with DNR to help educate Maryland’s boaters.”
After the lifejacket fashion show, members of the media rode on NRP vessels and witnessed a vessel safety check, a service free of charge to all Maryland boaters from the NRP and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
For more information about safe boating in Maryland, visit DNR Online, http://dnr.maryland.gov/boating/safety/.
Posted May 18, 2004