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Top priority: The premise is so simple it almost goes without saying, but boating safety experts agree the message can't be repeated enough: Wearing your life jacket can save your life.

That's the theme behind 1996 National Safe Boating Week, being observed this week.

``You can't find a cheaper insurance policy against accidental drowning than a life jacket,'' said John R. Banuelos, director of the state Department of Boating and Waterways. ``Boating accidents can happen in a split second. The only way your life jacket is going to help you is if you're already wearing it.''

The vast majority of people who die in recreational boating accidents fall overboard or capsize their boats. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that 85 percent of the people who die in such accidents were not wearing life jackets and that 90 percent of those victims would have survived had they been worn.

Salmon regulations: Copies of the 1996 ocean salmon sport fishing rules are now available from Department of Fish and Game offices and license agents.

The DFG issued the one-page flier as a supplement to the sport fishing regulations already adopted. The new rules cover size of fish, hook restrictions, weights and number of rods, as well as the different seasons and limits for various zones.

Urban angling: Los Angeles' Belvedere Park Lake will be Saturday's site for a DFG Fishing in the City angling clinic series.

Department interpreters will guide novice adult and youth fishers. Admission is free, however anglers 16 and older must have a valid sport fishing license to partake. Information: (310) 590-4835.

Oh, and don't miss out: Free fishing day - when no license is required to fish anywhere in the state - is set for June 8.

Expo '96: The Angeles Expo '96, a hands-on shooting sports expo, will be held May 31-June 2 at the Angeles Ranges, with proceeds to benefit the Boy and Girl Scout Councils of America.

The Expo, in addition to having a live-fire line where people who attend the show can shoot firearms from most of the major manufacturers, will have a vast array of demonstrations and instructional sessions all three days of the event. Some of the activities include full-size historic cannon live firing, quick draw and artistic gun handling demonstrations, instinctive and point-shooting seminars, rapid fire falling target demonstration, a mountain man rendezvous, displays of Olympic firearms, a cowboy shooting match, a staged Western gunfight, a sporting clays tournament, women's gun handling sessions and more.

Kids 12 and younger can use air guns to shoot targets.

The ranges are located two miles north of the 210 freeway at 12651 Little Tujunga Canyon Road, San Fernando. For more information and directions, call (818) 899-2255.

Tourney results: Saturday's first Castaic Lake Lower Lagoon Night Team Tournament was taken by Paul Sabesky and partner Jeff Gadzia of Tehachapi, who earned a $1,190 purse with their 11-pound, 3-ounce three-fish limit of largemouth bass that included an event best 8.45-pounder.

The father and son team of Mike and Dave Woernley of Canyon Country placed second with 7.55 pounds for $325. Larry Reed of Mira Loma and Rick Krebs of Bloomington walked with $160 on 7.40 pounds of bass.

King of bass: Kalamazoo, Mich., angler and author Kevin VanDam captured the 1996 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title last week after accumulating the most points based on his rank of finishes in seven national tournaments.

It was the second title for VanDam, 28, author of a book on bass fishing tips. The first came in 1992.

In his career, VanDam has earned nearly $415,000 in tournament winnings from B.A.S.S. - Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, a Montgomery, Ala., fishing group dedicated to bass conservation and education.

New parks guides: A series of eight booklets in a series called ``National Parks Discovery Guide'' has been published by the National Parks and Conservation Association.

The series is broken into geographic regions chronicling the country's 369 national park areas. The Pacific edition, for example, features parks in California, Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa.

Each can be purchased for $11.80, including shipping and handling, bay calling (800) 395-7275.

Founded in 1919, the Washington, D.C.-based NPCA is the only private, nonprofit citizen group dedicated solely to protecting, preserving and enhancing the U.S. National Park System. Information: (202) 223-6722.

Whale watching charters: Tourists travel from as far away as Europe and Japan to see blue and humpback whales in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Area residents just have to board a boat to get out to watch the denizens now. However, finding a private vessel to take you can be a challenge in itself, and most charters don't start motoring into the channel until late spring.

Following are some whale-watching charter options, if you don't mind the wait:

Island Packers, 1867 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, (805) 642-1393 or (805) 642-7688. All-day, 60-mile round-trips begin at the end of June or in early July.

The Condor at Sea Landing, 301 W. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, (805) 963-3564. Whale trips start in late June or early July.

Prices for charters range from $55 to $65.

Special trips:

Marine Mammal Center Memorial Day weekend whale-photography workshop. First day on shore; second day on the water. Information: (805) 687-3255.

American Cetacean Society cruise, Aug. 17. Humpback and blue whale trip out of Santa Barbara from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information: (805) 963-3564.

Cabrillo Marine Museum trips, Aug. 25 and Sept. 7. All-day trips out of Santa Barbara. Information: (805) 963-3564.

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary trips, July 7 and 21, Aug. 18 and Sept. 15. Preservation-oriented whale watch out of Santa Barbara. Information: (805) 963-3564.
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 23, 1996

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