Boating is a beloved hobby of many worldwide. While it can be one of the most relaxing activities, boating can go wrong in a hurry. When accidents occur, the survival of the boaters depends greatly on the preparations they have taken to ensure their safety in case of an accident. One of the essential steps to ensuring one’s survival in the event of a boating accident is wearing a life vest, or personal flotation device (PFD).
Flotation devices should be worn by swimmers and non-swimmers alike, as well as by children and adults. Today, there are even flotation devices available for cats and dogs. PFD’s provide non-swimmers with safety and peace of mind. Even if someone who does not know how to swim falls in the water, a flotation device will allow them to stay afloat until help can be reached or they can get to dry land. Without a flotation device, boating is extremely dangerous for non-swimmers. If non-swimmers fall in the water, they may not be in company that can get to them in time to save them from drowning.
Swimmers should also be sure to wear personal flotation devices. Though the chances of becoming unconscious may seem small, being prepared for an accident is key to a safe boating adventure, and some flotation devices are designed to keep even the unconscious afloat, and their mouth and nose out of the water. Swimmers may also find themselves unable to swim at some point during an accident. They may get injured or find their waterlogged clothes too heavy to swim in. Swimmers may also find waters that are too rough to navigate successfully.
While accidents are impossible to predict, there are key situations to look for where wearing a PFD would be an exceptionally wise choice. The first situation is one where heavy weather, including fog, is predicted. People are always at the mercy of the weather, and it is wise to take this into consideration when boating. Another situation is during the night. Visibility is reduced greatly after the sun sets, and when visibility is reduced, the risk of a collision is much higher. Another common situation is when working on deck.
There are many different kinds of flotation devices, and the different kinds have specific functions and situations they are intended for. Before purchasing flotation devices, it is best to research them and purchase ones that meet the needs, as well as U.S. Coast Guard requirements for those in the United States. The Coast Guard requires that every boat must have a flotation device available to every person on board. The Coast Guard also requires a flotation device is worn during specific activities. These activities include, but are not limited to: Water skiing, while operating personal water craft, white water rafting, and sailboarding (not to be confused with sailboating).
Flotation devices are for everyone, not just those who cannot swim. There is no excuse to not wear on when boating or fishing. Flotation devices truly are lifesavers.