The Rescue Board’s water safety campaign continues to raise awareness about the necessity of wearing life jackets in watercraft. The campaign titled “A Life Jacket Saves Your Life” calls people to wear life jackets with pride. Wearing a seatbelt in the back seat of a car is considered the norm nowadays, however, only slightly more than half the people who take boat rides wear life jackets, according to surveys. The first life jacket campaign was launched last summer. The main goal was to increase the number of people wearing life jackets on board watercraft.

In 2016, 47 people drowned in Estonia. Only one of the victims was wearing a life jacket. Every third victim drowned in a lake, therefore it is important to keep in mind that a life jacket is not only meant for sailing the open seas but should be used on seas, rivers, lakes, and on smaller bodies of water. Last year, 3.5 drownings per 100,000 people occurred on average. Compared to the Nordic countries, this number is relatively high.

The head of the Rescue Board’s prevention department Indrek Ints says that the water safety campaigns have focused on two topics thus far: the dangers of swimming while drunk and the wearing of life jackets. “The themes for safety campaigns have been influenced by the statistics, and the awareness and habits of the population. This year the Rescue Board is again focussing on life jackets,” said Ints.
The Rescue Board is organising both informational and safety awareness events all over Estonia as part of the water safety campaign. Altogether 82 events will be organised, plus 60 more events organised by volunteers. The safety awareness events will include modern awareness methods, for example, the use of green screen photography and virtual reality exercises, as well as more tangible methods – like trying on a life jacket. There will also be water safety trainings at summer camps for children and young adults.

This year we have extended our campaign with the inclusion of partners. For the first time ever, the Rescue Board is partnering with the Radio KUKU project “Sober Group Leader”. In addition to that, the Rescue Board has partnered with the citizens’ initiative Teomeeter (Action-Meter in English) that allows people to make pledges relating to water safety since June 12.

This year’s campaign is made unique by the fact that two well-known stand-up comics Mattias Naan and Tigran Gevorkjan are drawing attention to the importance of life jackets together with the Rescue Board. In addition to the regular print and TV ads, a summer hit was produced and released together for the campaign.