NMMA teams with Outdoor Channel on safety promotion

WASHINGTON – At the close of the first evening of the 2006 American Boating Congress held in Washington, DC, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and The Outdoor Channel agreed to a collaborative effort to raise boating safety awareness by promoting life jacket use on the television network’s programs, NMMA reported in a press release.

The Outdoor Channel and NMMA signed a Memorandum of Understanding officially launching “The Safe Recreational Boating Practices Partnership,” a public awareness and education campaign aimed at saving lives and reducing recreational boating accidents nationwide through increased promotion of life jacket use.

The agreement, signed by NMMA President Thom Dammrich; The Outdoor Channel’s vice president of Public Relations and Conservation, Chris Chaffin; and National Transportation Safety Board Member Debra Hersman, was applauded by the audience of industry and government leaders. The initiative seeks to use the positive influence of The Outdoor Channel’s programming and outdoor show hosts engaged in safety practices to influence the network’s viewers to do the same when they are on the water.

“As boating continues to grow in popularity, The Outdoor Channel and NMMA saw an opportunity to work together to continue to promote boating safety,” said Dammrich. “Our manufacturers have made great investments in developing new technologies to make lifejackets more comfortable and easy to wear, and in partnership with The Outdoor Channel, we will be able to reach and educate the viewing public about how safe and easy today’s lifejackets are to use.”

Under the agreement, both The Outdoor Channel and the NMMA will develop a joint public relations campaign to promote a safe boating message focused on voluntary adult lifejacket use while boating, fishing or hunting on the water. By the end of 2007, The Outdoor Channel has committed to increase its television hosts’ lifejacket wear while on boats in water-related shows. NMMA manufacturing members will provide The Outdoor Channel with a variety of lifejackets to be worn by the hosts, highlighting the vast array of options now available to consumers for lifejacket use.

Industry efforts to increase voluntary life jacket use have not gone unnoticed in Washington, DC. NMMA is working with Congressman John Sweeney (R-N.Y.) on legislation that will be introduced in Congress providing boat manufacturers a tax incentive to supply new boats with the most up-to-date lifejackets and emergency position indicating radio beacons. In exchange for providing the equipment free of charge to purchasers of new boats, manufacturers would be permitted to deduct the cost of life jackets and EPIRBs under the legislation.

“Congress and our industry know that increasing voluntary lifejacket use through manufacturing incentives, education, and outreach partnerships such as the initiative announced tonight are proven methods for success,” said Monita Fontaine, NMMA vice president for Government Relations. “We will work with Congress to pass this meaningful legislation as part of our industry’s ongoing effort to promote boating safety.”

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