Staying safe in national power boat competition

By Jillian Marshall

August 8, 2013 Updated Aug 9, 2013 at 9:56 AM EDT

Whitney Point, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A national competition has hundreds of athletes speeding down one Broome County lake. It's steep competition, but has even tougher safety requirements.

For the first time in five years, The American Power Boat Association is holding it's Summer Nationals in Whitney Point at Dorchester Park.

There are three categories: stock, modified and J, or junior.

Competitors can use either a hydroplane or a runabout boat. Both boats start at 30 mph and can go up to 100 mph.

The APBA requires drivers to wear Kevlar protection while driving the boats. That means a Kevlar jacket, Kevlar pants and a Kevlar life jacket to be worn with a helmet on the water.

"The idea is that it is cut resistant and some-what fire resistant, so if you fall in the water or get hit by another boat or something. It's supposed to keep you from getting cut," said J driver Kate Augustine, of Gaithersburg, MD.

Safety of the drivers while they are going at high speeds during the mile-long race is a main concern for parents.

"My mom, she gets scared and doesn't watch," said J driver Jared Pavlick, of Oswego, IL.

Drivers range from 9-years-old to 70-years-old, and all agree the speed is the thrill of the sport.

The Summer National continues through Saturday, Aug. 10.

For more information on the races or the APBA, click here.