Most boaters in Vermilion know they’re 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 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 76 percent of all boating fatalities – and 84.5 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2017. 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 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.
Cruising in an open motorboat: Comfort is key – choose a life jacket you’ll want to wear. For ages 16 and older, inflatable life jackets are a great option.
Personal watercraft and water sports: Inherently buoyant, lighter-weight life jackets are rugged, with multiple buckles and clasps to keep them secure after impact with the water.
Cold weather: Full coats and suits are available for those who boat when air and water temperatures are cool.
Paddling: Special life jackets are designed with large openings for arms to allow ease of movement.
Children: Virtually all styles available are sized especially for children – some with cartoon characters or other high-visibility themes, and many include additional safety features such as straps for pulling
children from the water.
Companion Animals: Life jackets are even available for our four-legged friends. It’s helpful to purchase one with a handle on top to easily pull your animal out of the water, if needed.