Alaska Leading the Way in Boating Safety… and Fatalities

The number one cause of accidental deaths for Alaskan children (aged 5-9) is drowning. But Joseph McCullough with the Alaska Boating Safety Program said the state’s response is second-to-none…


McCullough: “We have been starting this boating safety program, both the Kids Don’t Float program, and then our adult program, which focuses on cold water immersion, and we’ve had the rest of the country, maybe even the world, pay attention and adopt the Kids Don’t Float program.”

As part of the Kids Don’t Float Program, life jackets are left (unattended) in public areas for anyone to use. We asked McCullough how this idea was originally received…


McCullough: “Oh they told me I was crazy because they’d steal them or we’d lose them or they’d go away, but really our attitude: One, we don’t lost that many through theft, but if somebody were to steal one or two or five a year, what are they going to do with them? They’re going to wear them, and solves our goal, even though we don’t want anybody to steal them, don’t get me wrong.”


The Kenai Challenger Learning Center is taking 80 kids from the local Boys and Girls Club kids through the safety training this Thursday. The Center says the club will travel in their PFD to the Centennial Park for lunch and more water safety learning, before climbing into fishing boats with the Kenai River Professional Guide Association, who have donated their services.

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