Why It's Important to Wear a Life Jacket

Do you enjoy spending time on beautiful blue waters? Are you one of those people who would rather be on a boat than anywhere else? If you answered yes, then I’m sure you’ve probably heard many lectures about the importance of wearing a life jacket. Even though life jackets are designed to prevent a person from drowning, many still choose to go without one when they are doing water activities.

Life jackets may not necessarily be the most fashionable piece of attire, but they are definitely essential to keep you safe while you are out on open waters. Rough waters can easily toss passengers off board leaving them in serious trouble. The fact is, life jackets are truly lifesaving. Unfortunately, some people still don’t realize this very important fact until they’re in a situation where they might need one.

Whether you're boating, water skiing, or riding a jet ski, it’s crucial to always have on a life jacket. Numerous studies over the years tell us that about 90% of people who drown while out on open waters weren't wearing a life jacket. When it came to boating, most of the time there were life jackets available on the boat, but when trouble happens it’s too late to get them on.

You can find life jackets designed for swimmers and non-swimmers, and pretty much for all types of water activities. They are easy to put on, and some models are designed to turn unconscious wearers to a face-up position. The size of lifejacket you wear depends on your weight and size. Choose one that is U.S. Coast Guard approved. Wear it properly, including fastening all zippers, snaps, and ties.

Lifejackets Are Not Just For Boating or Poor Swimmers

It doesn't matter how proficient you are as a swimmer, even the best can panic and drown. If you find yourself in a situation where you must tread water, you'll eventually become tired. Wearing a life jacket keeps you safe until help arrives. Even in public pools or water parks, young children and anyone who cannot swim well should wear a life jacket when they are in or around water.

Keep in mind that life jackets are not a substitute for close supervision. Young children and poor swimmers need close supervision at all times, even if they are wearing a life jacket. You should definitely not think to allow your children to go out on a boat without a life jacket. You can set a good example for your children, and other adults, by always wearing your lifejacket without complaining.


What Do They Do?

Life jackets are placed around your torso or shoulders to keep your head above water. This prevents you from drowning by leaving your airways open. It’s very important that your life jacket fits properly. Jackets that are too big or too small won’t function correctly, and adult life jackets won’t work for children. Consult professionals like LRSE to determine what type of lifejacket you need for yourself and your passengers.

Inflatable life jackets are popular for boaters who don’t have much storage space. There are some lifejackets that are made to turn you face-up in the water if you fall and happen to become unconscious. Always stow life jackets properly to keep them in top condition. Before heading out on water, inspect life jackets to make sure there is no damage. Discard any jackets that are torn, faded, or leaky.

How They Save Lives?

They save lives! This is the number one reason why you need to wear a life jacket. Your life and the lives of your loved ones are worth the time and effort it takes to put one on each time you are out on water. Accidents can occur at any time. Do not risk your life by ignoring the fact that wearing a life jacket can prevent a tragic accident.

Even if you can swim, wearing a life jacket will keep you safe if an accident were to occur. In instances where you become unconscious, tossed into extremely cold water, or even thrown off balance, life jackets come in handy. If there is a collision with rocks or another boat, passengers will float on water. With a life jacket, you can conserve body heat while awaiting rescue in cold water.


Are There Requirements?

The United States Coast Guard have requirements for boaters when it comes to wearing life jackets. Each boat must have enough life jackets for each passenger on board. If the boat is small, there must also be a throwable flotation device on board. Life jackets must be easily accessible and in proper condition. It’s also important to make sure there are both child and adult sized life jackets on board.

An accident can occur at anytime, even on a clear and beautiful day. It’s better to be prepared and safe in any situation. Life jackets that are broken or have water log damage won’t work properly in the water and should be replaced. Even with laws and federal mandates in place, many child drowning cases involve children not wearing life jackets. The best advice is to simply always wear a life jacket.

The Bottom Line

It’s been proven time and time again that wearing life jacket while on open waters can significantly increase your rate of survival should something unexpected happen. Even though it might be tempting not to wear one, especially on nice days, there is simply no excuse not to wear a life jacket. Remember, If it’s your boat, it’s your responsibility. Wear a life jacket and insist everyone on your boat wears one.