Ten Reasons Why You Should Wear A Life Jacket
This subject has been featured in many previous articles in the SCFF newsletter, but it cannot be stressed too much.
1. Life Jackets Save Lives
Every year, the U.S. Coast Guard compiles reported recreational boating accidents. These statistics are from the US fifty states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. In 2012 the known cause of death were the following:
459 Drowning (71 of those people had a life jacket on)
103 Trauma (35 of those people had a life jacket on)
29 Cardiac arrest (10 of those people had a life jacket on)
11 Hypothermia (5 of those people had a life jacket on)
2 Carbon monoxide poisoning (0 of those people had a life jacket on)
2. Weather doesn't Matter
You might think it is such a beautiful day outside and there is no way anything could happen to you and your crew. However, the weather isn’t the biggest cause to boat accidents. Here are the top 5 factors for accidents in 2012:
Operator inattention was the cause to 581 accidents.
Operator inexperience was the cause to 417 accidents.
Improper lookout was the cause to 391 accidents.
Machinery failure was the cause to 346 accidents.
Excessive speed was the cause to 310 accidents.
3. "I Can Swim Fine." is a Common Excuse
Overestimating the ability to swim is a major factor when choosing to go without a life jacket. The reality is that no matter how good you are at swimming when faced with fear your mind may react differently than you think it would. Causing you to have high levels of anxiety and less ability to swim well. Studies have shown 2/3rds of drownings were people who were considered good swimmers, but didn't wear anything to protect them in the water.
4. Life Jackets keep you Warm
Many life jackets designed today are made to keep your body temperature warm while out in the water. The ski jackets are fantastic for people who are floating around waiting for their boat to swing by and pick them up. Here in Minnesota it might take up to August to actually have warm water in our lakes!
5. Life Jackets aren't just for Kids
About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. That leaves the other 4 to be older! My point is no matter how old you are you're never too old to wear one.
6. Drinking and Boating don't Mix
This seems like another no brainer, but yet there are those who sit out in the boat under the hot sun sipping the day away. Before long the mix can cause great amount of harm. Many DNR folks find people who have fallen out of their boats due to drinking and boating. Wearing the life jacket can help you stay afloat when you aren't all there.
7. They can Turn you Around the Right Way
Let's say you get knocked out unconscious and your face is in the water. This would be serious bad news, however there are jackets made that turn you over to a face-up position when in the water. Amazing!
8. Be an Example for Others
People like to be a part of the group and if more people are wearing their life jackets the more lives will be safer. Be the person to start the safe trend in your crowd.
9. Accidents happen close to Land
It doesn't matter if you are on a dock, boat, jet ski or just swimming accidents happen in all levels of water. It's better to be prepared for anything if you are around water.
10. Make sure it Fits Before Going Out
It is extremely important that you choose a properly fitting life jacket.
Jackets that are too big will cause the flotation device to push up around your face, which is very dangerous.
Jackets that are too small will not be able to keep your body afloat.
I hope this opens your eyes to the reasons why you should wear a life jacket. There are many different types to choose from for your water activity. Enjoy your time on the water and stay safe!
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