SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The new Coast Guard Auxiliary national commodore has charged the group “to reduce deaths on our waterways,” according to a release from the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
“We need to recommit ourselves to improving recreational boating safety and making a serious dent in reducing the recreational boating death growth rates.” Commodore Jim Vass of Port O’Connor, Texas, said in the release.
2009 saw an increase of 3.8 percent in recreational boating deaths because people fail to wear life jackets, are inattentive, and consume alcohol while operating boats, the release notes. Nearly 75 percent of the 736 people who died in boating accidents in 2009 drowned, and 84 percent of those victims reportedly were not wearing a life jacket.
Commodore Vass began his association with the Coast Guard Auxiliary in 1991 and has served in positions at the local, regional and national levels. Most recently he was the national vice commodore. He holds qualifications as an instructor, vessel examiner, and boat coxswain. His awards include the Coast Guard Auxiliary Medal of Operational Merit, Commendation Medal, Service Award, the Coast Guard Unit Commendation, and Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation.