In the world of sailing, lifejackets are often under appreciated. They are unfortunately regarded in the minds of some as uptight or unnecessary devices; others see them as a precaution only necessary for children However, wearing a lifejacket is perhaps the most essential part of ensuring safety while on the water—for people of all ages. Unsurprisingly, a majority of drowning deaths worldwide occur when the victim is not wearing a lifejacket. Thus, in the case of a seafaring emergency, it is always essential to have the added protection of a lifejacket. It is not an opinion, but a fact: lifejackets save lives.
Lifejackets and Personal Safety
In the event of a sudden vessel capsizing, a falling overboard, or some other aquatic calamity, those caught off guard without a lifejacket are far more susceptible to death by drowning than those outfitted with the proper floatation gear. Lifejackets help not only those unable to swim, but those who have been rendered unconscious or incapacitated by injury.
Moreover, it is sometimes necessary for victims to stay afloat on the water for excessive periods of time until aid can arrive. Even the most experienced swimmers will have difficulty treading water for hours without the assistance of a buoyancy device such as a lifejacket.
Additionally, it is important that any lifejacket fit properly. Lifejackets that are too large are capable of slipping off or onto the wrong part of the body while in water. Lifejackets that are too small may restrict breathing, or even fail to keep their wearers afloat in the first place. Adults must always wear adult-sized lifejackets, and children must always wear child-sized lifejackets.
The U.S. Coast Guard has set a law pertaining to lifejackets that requires all children under thirteen to wear them while on moving vessels. Aside from this, most states have also set local laws. Check your state’s lifejacket and boat safety laws before boating.
Although most laws do not require lifejackets to be worn by adults, it is still advisable in most situations. Exercise common sense and be safe by at least having life jackets available to all passengers in case they are needed.