As part of every boater’s responsibility, it is essential to emphasize the importance of wearing a life jacket at all times and carrying one onboard. Several studies have shown that most recreational boat drownings could have been prevented if the victim had worn a PFD or a life jacket. Fortunately, PFDs or life jackets are now designed to be easy to wear. There are also innovative designs that allow for more maneuverability.
During poor weather conditions with heavy winds and strong waves, boaters may find it challenging to locate or put on a life jacket. It is even more complicated when cold water is added to the scenario. For example, it takes time to reach for one when a boater accidentally falls into the water without wearing a life jacket. What will happen then? For these reasons, wearing a life jacket or PFD is the most important way for boaters to be safe and prevent drowning accidents.
While Federal Law requires children under 13 to wear a life jacket on a boat, State Laws vary. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule. For example, when the child is below decks, in an enclosed cabin, or if the boat is not intended to move.
Life jackets for children are approved for specific weight categories, and the label should specify whether the jacket is for children under 30 pounds, 30-50 pounds, under 50 pounds, or between 50 and 90 pounds.