Fishing & Boating News

NMMA Supports Life Jacket Use at Miami International Boat Show

All boat show staff to wear life jackets throughout duration of show

by: Lindsey Savin Johnson,

(Feb. 09, 2007 - Chicago, IL) To show support for ongoing boating safety efforts, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) will do its part at the upcoming Miami International Boat Show to showcase new, lightweight, fashionable life jackets and the importance of wearing them while participating in boating and boating-related activities.

Throughout the duration of the show, security guards, ticket takers, greeters and show staff will wear life jackets to promote the availability of new, comfortable styles and to help promote responsible boating messages. NMMA staff, PR representatives and guest speakers at the show will also don life jackets during the Miami Media Breakfast, taking place Thursday, February 15.

"We want to hammer home the fact that life jackets are part of the boating uniform," says Cathy Johnston, NMMA vice president of Southern Shows and manager of the Miami International Boat Show. "Life jacket technology has changed dramatically over the years, and today's models are no longer the bulky, orange vests of years past. The styles are now sleeker, lighter, more stylish and, most importantly, more comfortable to wear."

Approximately 150 life jackets were donated for use at the Miami show by several manufacturers, including: Kent Sporting Goods; Marine Technologies International (MTI Adventurewear); Mustang Survival; Safegard Corp.; Stearns Inc.; and West Marine. The donated jackets include inflatables (both vests and belt packs) and inherently buoyant models in a variety of styles, colors and brands.

In addition to live models, signage will be posted around the Miami show floor encouraging life jacket use. The signs depict various black and white boating lifestyle scenes, with only the life jackets illuminated in visible, bright colors. Underneath the images the tagline reads, "It Only Works If You Wear It." These posters will be scattered throughout the show in prominent places, reinforcing the work boating safety organizations are doing by emphasizing the visual impact of how life jackets are worn. Life jacket-clad mannequin displays will also be visible on the show floor, and a number of boat manufacturers exhibiting at the Miami show were asked to help support the cause by featuring life jackets as part of their exhibits.

A special award will be presented to the boat manufacturer that best incorporates life jackets as part of its display as part of the Miami Best of Show Awards, which are announced Friday evening, February 16.

A fun element for consumers related to life jacket wear is being incorporated into the Miami show as well, via the Discover Boating Center. Show attendees will have an opportunity to visit the Discover Boating Center and pose for an "experience shot," where they simulate either fishing or waterskiing activities, and are photographed wearing a life jacket. Visitors stand against a boating-related backdrop and the two scenes—located inside the camera—are superimposed to create the look of someone either fishing or waterskiing. Afterwards, consumers can visit to retrieve the photos. Free life jacket koozies branded with the "Discover Boating" logo will also be passed out to consumers that visit the MiamiDiscover Boating Center (while supplies last).

For more information, contact NMMA Accessory Division and Affiliates director Bernice McArdle at (312) 946-6280;

National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers in the United States. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy, market research and data, product quality assurance and marketing communications.