Children under the age of 12 would be better protected from drowning while out on the water, under legislation up for a vote in the state Assembly on Tuesday.

Boating safety expert Todd Schaller with the Department of Natural Resources says the bill would require personal flotation devices for the safety of children. He says it’s important to teach kids early on about the importance of putting on a flotation device when out on the water.

The requirement would apply to any boat under 26-feet in length.

In 2008, 80-percent of those who died in boating-related accidents in Wisconsin were not wearing a life jacket.

Schaller says the requirement shouldn’t be a problem for boat owners, since state law already requires them to have a personal flotation device on board for every passenger. He says the bill just takes the next step by requiring young passengers to put them on.

Schaller says it all comes down to making sure young boaters are kept safe.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:01)

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