Water Safety and Education The IMRF's Ann Laing writes: What an initiative! What a success! Boating Enthusiasts Set New Lifejacket World Record at 'Ready, Set, Wear It day on May 18th. At nearly 200 events around the globe, 5,774 participants inflated their inflatable lifejacket or wore an inherently buoyant lifejacket, breaking the world record for lifejacket wear. The message is clearly 'Wear It' – wear your lifejacket at all times while you are on the water. For more information on this initiative, visit SafeBoatingCampaign.com. The whole subject of Water Safety and Education is huge and diverse. Different cultures may well have different ways of addressing this subject but one thing is for sure – the wearing of a lifejacket whilst on the water (no matter what culture, climate, race, religion or age) will give that necessary time to enable the saving of life. It sounds so simple yet every year thousands lose their lives needlessly. IMRF's Water Safety and Education project will concentrate on the promotion of simple safety advice such as this, and I would love to hear what YOUR organisation is doing with regards to education programmes in your area. Our project purpose is to: (1) Encourage and assist members to establish community-led education programmes which: o Improve awareness and education o Promote safety and survival on the water o Reduce fatalities on the water (2) Improve and share: o Safe practices o Knowledge and skills As a first step, we can put a link to Members' existing programmes and resources on the IMRF website under 'Education', linking to the appropriate parts of your own website. Identifying relevant and successful existing initiatives and the sharing of such information and experience is exactly what the IMRF is about and does so successfully. I would be delighted to hear from all Members who engage in such programmes and who are willing to share their information with others. A short summary of what your programmes address will enable those looking for a similar programme to make a start. I look forward to hearing from you. The IMRF has also signed up to the Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee's 'Lifejacket Wear Principles' by becoming a Safety Partner, joining the movement to promote personal responsibility through the wearing of lifejackets in small vessels. Similar organisations in other countries, such as the UK's National Water Safety Forum, are also supporting this initiative. As a Safety Partner we have formally agreed to: o Recognise the fundamental role the wearing of lifejackets plays in the safeguarding of life for water users; o Recognise the importance of promoting the wearing of lifejackets when boating; o Endeavour to ensure that any IMRF publication will feature people wearing contemporary style lifejackets when in an outside area of a small craft that is underway; o Recommend to the recreational boating industry that its publications similarly feature people wearing lifejackets; o Require staff to wear lifejackets whenever they are on the water; o Use the term "lifejacket" in public information and education; and o Encourage respective boating safety networks to become Safety Partners by supporting the principles above. The IMRF logo will be displayed on the Lifejacket Wear website, lifejacketwear.com.au. The logo will allow visitors to the website to access information on the IMRF's role in water safety. IMRF Members are invited to join in too. Visit the Lifejacket Wear site for background information and follow the process under the "join us" tab. It won't take a minute, and it will lend support to a simple, yet vital, initiative. Because it's a simple fact that people die because they are not wearing lifejackets – even experienced users of the sea, whether for leisure or because it's their trade; even in good weather and sea conditions; even in sheltered waters, close to home. To say 'I don't need a lifejacket' is, quite honestly, just stupid. 'Ready, Set, Wear It' was a fun event. But the IMRF is fully behind the drive that will see it evolve into something that contributes to the culture change needed to save more lives.