At this year’s Miami International Boat Show, Suzuki Marine was the proud recipient of the “Show It, Don’t Stow It” Award presented by several very important organizations, including the US Coast Guard, the NMMA, the Florida Fish & Game Commission and the National Safe Boating Council. The award recognized our commitment to include life jackets and pfds in our advertising, catalogs and our show displays.
I guess we were surprised to get an award for simply doing what we thought was the right thing. But we’re proud of the recognition, nonetheless.
You can look back a few years ago when life jackets were nowhere to be seen. Ads featured pretty girls in swimming suits, guys in fishing boats, kids on water skis – everybody was having a great time.
But the reality is a bit different. And the statistics will really get you attention, especially when you realize that 8 out of 10 people who died in a boating accident did not have a life jacket on.
So from our perspective, it was an easy fix. Let’s just show life jacket use and maybe we can do our part to nudge everybody in the right direction. So for the past few years, every picture we take for marketing usage, the people in the photos are wearing some sort of pfd. And our footnote in every ad encourages folks to wear a USCG-approved personal flotation device.
It helps that the manufacturers of life jackets have come up with so many options, so we don’t have to rely on the old orange yoke-styles that everybody remembers from their youth. (Don’t get me wrong, those still work, and they’re great to have on board.) But the new, self-inflating styles are much less obtrusive, more comfortable to wear – more user-friendly, so you can look good and be safe at the same time. All in all, the best pfd is the one that you will wear every time you are on the boat.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that while boating is fun, it also requires everybody involved to pay attention to safety, from the skipper to the mate to the guests on board. We invite everyone in the industry to join us in encouraging the regular use of life jackets.
Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next winner of the ‘Show It, Don’t Stow It” award!