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Fashionable and functional

FEB. 14 — Style doesn’t always mix with safety, but boaters get the best of both worlds in Miami this weekend.

In an ongoing effort to promote safe boating, the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) encourages boaters to give their Valentine a gift with heart — a life jacket. NMMA staff will be wearing new models of life jackets during the Miami International Boat Show that opens today and runs through Feb. 18.

“We want to reiterate the fact that life jackets are part of the boating uniform,” says Cathy Rick-Joule, NMMA vice president of Southern Show and manager of the Miami show in a recent NMMA press release. “Life jackets are no longer the bulky, orange vests of years past. Today’s styles are sleeker, lighter, more stylish, and — most importantly — more comfortable to wear.”

Attendees of the show can expect everyone from security guards to ticket-takers to show staff to be sporting the PFD look. Approximately 150 life jackets were donated from various manufacturers, including Body Glove, Kent Sporting Goods and Stearns, according to the report. Allstate Boat Insurance will also be repeating their promotion of giving children 12 and under a free life jacket at their booth (#1760) in the Miami Convention Center on Feb. 17 and 18.

Posters depicting black-and-white images of boating scenes with only the life jackets in color will also be seen throughout the show, along with the tagline, “It Only Works If You Wear It.” At the conclusion of the show, the NMMA will present a special award to the manufacturer that best incorporates life jackets as a part of their display during the Miami Best of Show Awards on Feb. 15.

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— Elizabeth Ellis