Officials Note Tips for North Carolina Residents to Avoid Water Tragedies

As the weather heats up, North Carolinians love to take to the waters and enjoy a day of fun and sun at their local lake, river or beach. Yet an enjoyable day on the water can soon turn tragic if safety guidelines regarding personal flotation devices (PFDs), more commonly known as life jackets, are not observed.

As part of Consumer Product Safety Month in North Carolina, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) and the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) are teaming up to offer residents of the Tar Heel state some valuable safety tips on how to stay safe and keep your children protected in the water.

According to the U. S. Coast Guard, 524 boating-related drowning deaths occurred nationwide in 2002. “In about 85 percent of those cases, the victims were not wearing a personal flotation device,” said John Drengenberg, UL’s manager of Consumer Affairs. “PFDs do save lives, but they won’t work if people don’t wear them. It’s the most important piece of equipment you can bring on a boating trip.”

Insurance Commissioner Jim Long, who also serves as state chair of the North Carolina SAFE KIDS Coalition, emphasizes the water safety concerns for children. “Each year about 38 children drown in our state,” he said. “Whether in a pool, lake, river or on a boat, children should always be supervised by an adult and never by other children.”

To help reduce drowning fatalities, the safety experts at UL and NCDOI are offering a number of safety guidelines regarding use of PFDs. For more information, visit