Ameren Missouri has joined the Missouri State Highway Patrol in an initiative to promote the importance of wearing life jackets while boating on the Lake of the Ozarks. The main focus is children, but the initiative will also educate boaters of all ages about the life-saving importance of life jackets.
"Safety is our primary concern, and teaming with the Missouri State Highway Patrol provides a tremendous opportunity to emphasize the importance of wearing life jackets on Missouri's lakes and waterways," said Jeff Green, Ameren supervisor of shoreline management.
Ameren is providing the troopers with t-shirts bearing the message, "I got caught wearing my life jacket."
Troopers will hand out the t-shirts as a reward to children ‘caught’ wearing their life jackets during the early summer boating season.
"This partnership is a good way to recognize those boaters who are being safety conscious," said Captain Gregory Kindle, commanding officer of Troop F. "The majority of our stops on the lake are due to violations our troopers have observed, so it's always nice to note the positive things we see boaters doing."
According to statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard, approximately 85 percent of boaters who drown weren't wearing a life jacket, even though in many cases life jackets were available and aboard.
"In Missouri, life jackets are required for children under seven, but are certainly recommended for children seven and older," Kindle said. "Children on docks are not required to wear life jackets, but the same dangers certainly apply. The most tragic situations our troopers see on this Lake involve small children who drown. Our hope is to do all we can to prevent such tragedies."
Ameren and the Water Patrol Division have conducted similar life jacket safety promotions since 2005.