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PFD: Wear It!

 

Most everyone knows that boaters are required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket on board for EVERY person on their boat, but boating safety advocates recommend that everyone onboard wears the life jacket at all times while boating. Most boating accidents on the water happen much too fast to reach to put on a stowed life jacket. Drowning is the reported cause of death in 77 percent of all boating fatalities – and 84 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2018.

Inspect your Personal Floatation Devices or PFDs on a regular basis and look for obvious signs of wear or deterioration. PFDs need to be stored in a dry area to prevent waterlogging. There are several types of PFDs available but check your local state laws for types that are approved for your state waters. The most important thing to keep in mind is having a proper fit for the person that is wearing it. Make sure all vest straps, buckles or zippers are secure. To check fit have the person hold their arms straight over their heads and have a person pull up on the PFD shoulders. The vest should not easily slide off. Lastly, PFDs only work if they are on. Wearing a PFD shows wisdom. Many of today's PFDs can be worn comfortably all day and never notice they are on. It’s worth reminding that most PFDs have a loop to attach the motor kill switch if you are ejected from the vessel.

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