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BPT pros emphasize safety in presentation

BPT pros emphasize safety in presentation

Four of the professional anglers competing at Heavy Hitters 2024 at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in central Florida visited with some local young Osceola anglers this week to talk about staying safe while on the water.

Ott DeFoe, Edwin Evers, Andy Montgomery and Britt Myers took some time Monday evening to meet with student anglers from the Osceola High School Anglers Fishing Club at their bi-weekly club meeting to talk about boater safety – particularly the importance of selecting and always wearing the right personal floatation devices (PFD) every time they are on the water.

The MLF pros compete across the country, but DeFoe said he enjoys stops like this to remind young anglers about the importance of safety, on or off the water.

“No one ever thinks they’re going to be in an accident,” DeFoe said. “It often happens when you least expect it. We want to make sure to remind all of these young anglers that it can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced they are. Wearing your life jacket is one of the most simple things that you can do to greatly improve your safety on the water. I wear my Onyx PFD absolutely every time I crank up my big outboard.”

Montgomery, who had the student anglers cracking up with his stories of testing out "improper" life jackets, said he wanted to remind the Osceola teens to make sure they had the right life jackets for the right situation.

“It’s important to wear the correct life jackets – not some of those belly jackets that make you float upside down – you can’t breathe out of your toes,” Montgomery joked. “Whether you’re using an automatic-inflatable life vest or a full life jacket, always make sure to check they are in good condition and appropriate for your activity on the water.”

Lamar Chisholm, founder of the Osceola County High School Anglers fishing eam, said that the student anglers were very receptive of the pro anglers and their advice.

“The kids had a great time hearing from the pros, and everyone was super appreciative of the new Onyx PFDs, goodie bags and pizzas that the anglers brought with them,” Chisholm said.

After the presentation, the Osceola anglers were treated to a pizza party, life jackets and goodie bags donated by MLF and Onyx. Many MLF anglers wear Onyx’s automatic inflatable life jackets, and the same personal flotation device (PFD) is also the required game-day safety wear for MLF camera crews and officials throughout all competitions.

The MLF event was held in conjunction with National Safe Boating Week (May 18-24), which is the official launch of the 2024 Safe Boating Campaign. The yearlong campaign promotes the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2022, and that 75 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

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