Engaging in activities out on the open water is an excellent way to beat the summer heat. For example, you can charter a boat and enjoy the area’s lakes and waterways. Many people also get together with others on a friend’s private boat to escape the heat.
As we discussed in a recent post, wearing a life jacket, also known as a personal flotation device (PFD) is one of the best ways to help ensure your safety if you unexpectedly land in the water. Boat charter companies routinely provide these devices, which must always be worn while on the vessel. You may feel safe when wearing a PFD, but if it is defective or poorly maintained, you could lose a beloved family member to drowning.
How can PFDs be defective?
Routine inspection and maintenance of life jackets are critical in keeping passengers safe. Without proper care, PFDs may develop dangerous defects.
For example, when PFDs are stored in extremely hot areas, the buoyant material within them can degrade and virtually fall apart. Tears in the outer shell of the device, inoperable zippers or other fasteners can also cause failure in flotation devices.
All recreational vessels are required to carry wearable life jackets for every individual on the craft. Large boats must also carry a flotation device that can be thrown to someone experiencing distress while in the water. If a boat owner or charter company fails to provide well-maintained PFDs and someone drowns, the victim’s family may seek justice through a wrongful death claim.
Consider learning more about your legal options if you have lost a loved one because of a missing or defective flotation device.