May 2007

Thereís No Reason Not To Wear It

Itís too hot! It doesnít look cool. I know how to swim. Nothing is going to happen to me.

These are just some of the many reasons people claim that they do not wear their life jackets. But, with approximately 700 people drowning each year from recreational boating accidents, it is imperative for you to wear your life jacket at all times while you are on the water.

Life jackets are no longer the orange, hot and bulky vests that are commonly associated with on-the-water safety gear. New innovations and developments in life jackets have produced a smaller, sleeker, and much more comfortable version of a life jacket, leaving you with no reason not to WEAR IT!!

Much like a helmet to a biker or skate boarder, life jackets are an essential part of your boating-safety equipment and should be worn at all times while on the water. In 2004, of the 676 recreational boating fatalities, 90 percent of those victims not wearing their life jackets.

Life jackets are now lighter, less obtrusive, and more attractive than ever before. The new inflatable life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) allow you the mobility and flexibility that you need when boating, fishing, paddling, or hunting and are much cooler in the warmer weather.

There are many different varieties of inflatable jackets, ranging from those that inflate instantly when you hit the water to those that are manually inflated. All are designed to be more comfortable and wearable than the traditional life jacket.

Accidents can happen at an alarming speed anyplace or anytime you are on the water. Although many boaters stow life jackets on their boats, very few choose to wear them.

There just isnít time to grab a life jacket and put it on properly before you are in the water. If you are faced with a strong current or unfavorable weather conditions, you will not only have trouble making sure you are safe and secure in your life jacket, but also you will be unable to help your friends, relatives, children or passengers who have accompanied you in your boat.

Wearing your life jacket will allow you to be safe in case of an accident and will also allow you the ability to assist others that may be in danger.

This year during National Safe Boating Week, May 19-25, and throughout the boating season, remember to practice safe and responsible boating, always wear your life jacket, and be alert and aware while on the water.

By practicing these simple steps, you can save your life as well as the lives of the people boating with you. Life jackets are now more comfortable and lightweight than ever, with many new styles to fit the style you want.

Safe boating saves lives, so for this yearís National Safe Boating Week and throughout the boating season, remember to Boat Smart. Boat Safe. WEAR IT!

The North American Safe Boating Campaign is brought to you by a grant funded through the Aquatic Resources (Wallop/Breaux) Trust Fund. The grant is administered by the United States Coast Guard.