It is important to wear your Personal Flotation Device (PFD) every time you are out on a boat; not just stow them on the boat. Accidents can happen without warning and often happen so quickly you don’t have time to react. Children are at the greatest risk, which is why they are legally required to wear a life jacket in and around the boat.
Adults are also at a risk and are encouraged to use a life jacket. Think about when you stop are get out of the boat. Sandbars are constantly moving and aren’t always stable to walk on. Quicksand and mucky waters can lead you to be pulled downward further then expected. The downstream end of the sandbar is often unstable and will not typically support a person. A life jacket will keep you on top of the water if you walk off an unexpected drop.
One-half of all recreational boating fatalities happen in calm water and are always unexpected. Often the fatalities occur close to shore due to drowning since life jackets are stowed away and not being used. – According to the US Coastal Guard
Anytime you are participating in water sports it is highly important to wear a life jacket. Not all life jackets on the market today are hot an uncomfortable to wear. The variety available has something for any sport and any body type. (They even make life jackets for your pets!)
It’s the Law
All vessels (including canoes, kayaks and paddle boards) must have at least one USCG-approved Wearable life jacket for each person on board.
All vessels 16 feet or more in length must have one USCG-approved throw-able Personal Flotation Device on board that is immediately accessible.
Every person on board a personal watercraft must have a USCG-approved life jacket.
Sailboats and windsurfers are exempt from life jacket legal requirements, however are highly encouraged to wear one.
Federal law requires all children under the age of 13 to wear a USCG-approved life jacket while underway in an open vessel on federally controlled waters.
All Life Jackets Must Be
In good and serviceable conditions – meaning no rips and tears, broken straps or snaps.
Readily accessible – meaning you are able to put the life jacket on quickly in an emergency situation.
Properly sized for the intended wearer – meaning the jacket needs to be fitted based on chest size and body weight.