Would you allow yourself or your child to not wear a seatbelt in a moving vehicle? Probably not, right? That’s because research has shown that wearing a seatbelt is the most basic thing you can do to protect yourself in a car accident. Now, what about wearing a life jacket on a boat this summer? If the answer to this question is “no,” you may want to reconsider.
Life jackets are the law, like seatbelts
Life jackets aren’t just for children. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources estimates that the greatest percentage of victims who drown in Indiana waters are above the age of 20 and good swimmers. This shows that adults are also susceptible to drowning accidents, especially when alcohol is involved.
Aside from the risks associated with not wearing a life jacket, life jackets are the law. Indiana law requires every personal boat to have one life jacket for every person onboard. Furthermore, children under 13 and anyone towed behind the boat on an inner tube, for example, must wear a life jacket.
How to buy a life jacket
Maybe you’ve tried life jackets and found them cumbersome. That’s okay. It’s possible that you bought the most affordable option or ordered one online before trying it on and that didn’t work. Some things to keep in mind when you go life jacket shopping include:
- Try on a life jacket. Once you’ve tightened all the straps and the jacket feels secure, have another person pull up on shoulders. Should the jacket slide up past your nose, retighten the straps or find a smaller jacket. A properly fitting life jacket shouldn’t restrict your range of motion or cause chafing.
- Decide on features you need. Life jackets are cooler than ever with different ways to attach fishing tackle, lights, and even pockets for snacks. Ensuring that the life jacket will have proper ventilation for warm weather is also important in preventing heat exhaustion.
- Know how much buoyancy you need. Flotation varies from person to person. Factors like body mass, lung size and clothing determine how much added flotation you need. For most adults, seven to 12 pounds of additional flotation will suffice.
A life jacket should be unique to you
Life jackets come in a variety of styles for fishing to kayaking. This allows you to make your life jacket unique to your personality and lifestyle, while also ensuring your safety on the water. Much like wearing a seatbelt is the most basic safety step you can take in your vehicle, the same goes for wearing a life jacket on the lake this summer.