Big Bear Lake, CA, May 16, 2014 – With warmer weather, people gravitate to the cool shores of Big Bear Lake, and want to play in the water. Families should keep in mind, however, that accidents are possible.

Too often both experienced and inexperienced boaters have a false sense of security and don’t wear life jackets. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities, and that 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. California ranks No. 2 in the nation for boating accidents and boating fatalities, with boating mishaps causing more than 49 deaths in the state in 2012 alone.

In preparation for the summer boating season, the National Safe Boating Council kicks off its national Wear It! campaign promoting safe boating and life jacket wear with National Safe Boating Week, which runs from May 17-23.

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-12 will support this campaign by offering a life jacket trade-in at the Carol Morrison East Ramp (41911 North Shore Drive) on May 17 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. While supplies last, the public can bring in their old life jackets to exchange for a free new one, courtesy of the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.