Life Jackets Are Crucial, No Matter Age Or Experience
From small children to veteran adults, everyone should wear a life jacket when participating in water sports, events or leisure. All too often, young adults and older counterparts think that they’re swimming abilities outweigh the importance of a life jacket. However, life jackets aren’t just for staying afloat. They can also help stabilize, rise to the surface and get spotted by other boaters and swimmers. In annual drowning, 90 percent of victims are not wearing a life jacket. This means that 90 percent of those deaths could have been prevented.
Even the best swimmers can get discombobulated in the water. Waves and rip tides can pull them every which way making it extremely difficult to figure out where the surface is. A life jacket pulls the swimmer naturally towards the surface. In this type of situation the swimmer can more quickly readjust and reach the surface before they run out of breath. Falling off of a boat, waterski or inner tube can all result in this type of dangerous situation. Also keep in mind that the younger and more inexperienced the swimmer is, the higher the risk is for them when they enter the water without a life jacket.
A brightly colored life jacket can also serve as an indicator that a swimmer is in the water. For busy lakes and waterways, it’s imperative to be seen by boaters. When participating in water sports, falling into the water is pretty standard, but then the boater has to find and pick up the swimmer. A head above the water easily blends into the waves, where as a yellow or orange life vest sticks out and lets the boater quickly find the swimmer while also standing out so other boaters avoid the area and hitting the swimmer waiting in the water.
There are more than 13 million boats registered for use in the US, operated on lakes, rivers and oceans. However, around 65 percent of these boats have owners and operators that have never taken a boating safety class. This statistic alone shows why it’s important for all ages to wear a life jacket. Anything can happen out on the water and wearing a life jacket is the best level of protection against water related injuries and drowning.
The dangers of boating and open water should always serve as a reminder to even veteran boaters and swimmers. Participating in the safety practice of wearing a life jacket could not only save a life, but also teach younger swimmers proper precaution and the importance of wearing a life jacket throughout their lives. There is no excuse not to wear a life jacket and in some states there are rigid laws requiring certain age groups to use a life jacket on the water. Research into boating laws and safety along with proper life jackets can help save a life.