Labor Day is not the end of boating season: Boat Safe, Boat Smart, wear a life jacket

What’s YOUR excuse for not wearing a Life Jacket: It’s too hot. It doesn’t look cool. It’s too expensive. I know how to swim. Nothing bad is going to happen to me.  Giving in to these excuses could be deadly!

Approximately 700 people drown each year from recreational boating accidents, and about 90 percent of those people failed to do one simple thing – wear a life jacket.  Life jackets are no longer the orange, hot and bulky vests that are commonly associated with water safety gear.  New innovations have produced a smaller, sleeker, and much more comfortable version of a life jacket, leaving you with no excuse not to WEAR IT!!

Much like a helmet is to a biker or skate boarder, life jackets are an essential part of your boating safety equipment and should be worn at all times while on the water.  U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets range in price from as low as $15.00 to about $400.00 for the top of the line inflatable. But, even the most expensive life jacket is worthless if it is not worn properly.

It is undisputable a life jacket can and will save a life if properly worn – but what about preventing boating accidents in the first place? Most boating accidents are caused by operator inattention, inexperience, and speeding resulting in collisions. This boating season, follow a few simple boating rules of the road, such as keeping a sharp lookout for other boat traffic, to help prevent collisions on congested waterways.

Alcohol and boating are a deadly mix, especially when combined with stressors in the marine environment, such as sun, glare, wind, heat, and boat and engine noise. Alcohol use remains the primary contributing factor for boating deaths according to statistics from the Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety.

This year during the Labor Day Weekend, and throughout the boating season, remember to practice safe and responsible boating. Always wear your life jacket, boat sober, and be alert and aware while on the water. 

By practicing these simple steps you can save your life as well as the lives of the people boating with you.  Boat Safe. Boat Smart. WEAR IT!