Sunday cartoon: Safe boating, safe fishing kids

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BURRILLVILLE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management will be stocking state lakes and ponds with trout this week preparing for the opening day of fishing this coming Saturday, April 8. Area lakes and ponds will be filled with trout across Rhode Island and thousands of avid fishing enthusiasts, including children, will be fishing from shores, docks, bridges and boats hoping to reel in that big fish.

RIDEM is also encouraging everyone that launches a fishing boat of any kind on any open water to make sure that all boaters and passengers are wearing life jackets for their safety. RI DEM has a great Li’l Skipper and Clam Cakes water and boating safety coloring book featured on their official website, reminding kids and families about a variety of safe boating messages. Li’l Skipper and Clam Cakes Water & Boating Safety Coloring Book has been a longtime publication utilized by this agency for years, with great success.

Coloring cartoons like the one appearing this week are passed out to kids at open water locations that include ponds, lakes and the ocean from April through October every year, hoping to keep kids and families safer while boating. The Rhode Island and Newport Boat Shows distribute Li’l Skipper and Clam Cakes coloring books, coloring posters and fridge magnets to kids, while displaying full color water and boating safety banners featuring these popular Rhode Island-based cartoon characters annually at their events. Seaside restaurants, diners and businesses in South County and Block Island have these items on table tops and counters for kids and adults during the busy summer months and tourist season. Communities across Cape Cod and the Islands make them available to kids and families visiting their popular vacation hot spots from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day weekend every summer, reminding residents and tourists to wear life jackets and follow safe boating laws and regulations.

Li’l Skipper and Tackle Box water and boating safety campaign materials and products are being distributed to kids and families this year in multiple states nationwide, including Minnesota, and where clam cakes are unavailable. Interior states do not have seaside communities, but still have many open water areas. Those states get the Tackle Box puppy character instead of Clam Cakes. Minnesota has more than 10,000 lakes and ponds, and fishing is a huge sport in that state. It all began here in the Ocean State.

You can download and print out Li’l Skipper and Clam Cakes water and boating safety coloring cartoons over the coming months, helping to keep you and your family safer when boating and fishing.

Have a great opening day this Saturday, and I hope you catch that big fish you are hoping to reel-in. Stay safe and wear a life jacket if fishing on a boat.

Jim Weicherding is a Burrillville resident, and the founder and creator of an award-winning traffic safety effort Seasons of Safety. Weicherding contributes kids’ coloring cartoons, which can be printed and used to help parents discuss safety issues with their children. He has a long list of police officers and firefighters in his family and has worked with law enforcement and firefighters in a creative public safety capacity for more than two decades.

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