A personal flotation device, such as a life jacket or a life preserver, can be a life-saving item. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of people are injured, and many die every year in boating accidents. Of those who died in boating accidents, 70% drowned—and of those who drowned, 90% were not wearing personal flotation devices. The United States Coast Guard also conducted a study on boating fatalities and discovered that almost every drowning victim had a life jacket available to them and chose not to use it.
It is crucial that every time you go onto a boat that you wear a personal flotation device in order to protect yourself from drowning if the boat gets into an accident or you accidentally fall overboard—even if you are an excellent swimmer.
However, just the act of wearing a personal flotation device is not going to be effective. For the flotation device to work, you’ll have to ensure that it’s the right fit and is working properly.
If you’re planning on going out on the water this summer, you’ll want to read out flotation device safety tips.
FLOTATION DEVICE SAFETY TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you own a boat, it is your responsibility to ensure that all your passengers on board are safe at all times. A big part of ensuring safety is to have an approved number of life jackets on board. Federal regulations require that children under 13 wear a life jacket at all times when on a boat (although different states and cities may have their own age requirements so be sure to check your local laws). Although it may not be legally required for the adults on board to always have a life jacket on, it’s typically best practice to enforce that rule.
If your boat is 16 feet or longer, you are also required to have at least one throwable flotation device onboard excluding canoes and kayaks.
For your personal flotation device to be effective in an emergency, you need to make sure it’s the right size. Read the personal flotation device’s manufacturing recommendations on size or weight requirements. Never allow an adult to wear a child’s life preserver, and never allow a child to use an adult life preserver. Lastly, the fasteners should always close completely on a personal flotation device.
Getting out on the boat is always a fun summer activity, but always remember safety first!
If you have been severely injured in a boating accident that was due to the negligence or recklessness of another party in Georgia, you may be entitled to compensation. Hire a legal team like the Fry | Goehring who is well-versed in personal injury laws. Call 404.969.1284 for more information.