Most boaters know they’re required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket on board for every person on their boat. Boating safety advocates recommend that all boaters and passengers not only have a life jacket, but wear it at all times while boating.
Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. Drowning is the reported cause of death in 80 percent of all boating fatalities – and 83 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2016.
The good news is that today’s life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. Life jackets may be inherently buoyant – using foam or other buoyant materials to stay afloat – or inflatable –providing buoyancy when inflated by relying on CO2 cylinders.
Life jackets that use inflatable technologies are cool and comfortable. They may resemble a pair of suspenders or a belt pack. Many inflate automatically when immersed in water.
There are life jacket styles available for almost any boating activity.
No matter what the activity or style chosen, the most important thing is this: Remember to be responsible and always wear your life jacket while boating.