It makes sense that everyone in a boat should wear a life jacket. The message is proclaimed loudly and clearly on virtually all state and federal outdoor recreation web sites and on printed material provided from state agencies and boat dealers. And yet the message is ignored. People keep dying in recreational boating accidents.
I suppose it's that human tendency to believe that tragic accidents happen only to others. The sad truth, however, is that accidents can happen to anyone at anytime.
In just another week the Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. As temperatures rise, boating activity will increase. Make boat safety a priority this year. Boating should be fun. No one should die while enjoying a day on the water. Always wear a PFD when boarding a boat of any kind.
Denny Tubbs, PFBC outreach and education coordinator for the Southwest Region, urges every boater and every passenger to wear a PFD. "It's the law for children under 12 years of age," he said in a recent phone interview. "It's just common sense that everyone should wear a PFD while aboard a boat of any type.
"The biggest complaint about PFDs has always been that they're uncomfortable, too hot, or just inconvenient," Tubbs said. "With the latest advances in inflatable life jacket technology, these excuses disappear. Inflatable lifejackets resemble a belt with an attached pair of suspenders. When the device contacts water, hydrostatic pressure causes a carbon dioxide cartridge to fire and inflate an air bladder," he explains.
Tubbs explains, "The primary purpose of any PFD is to keep your head above water, even if you're unconscious. Often help arrives within minutes of an accident. Without a PFD, victims can slip underwater and not be found for days or even weeks."
Search "inflatable life jackets" online. They're more expensive that traditional PFDs, but I'll bet your life or your child's life is worth it.
Send questions and comments to sshala...@aol.com or 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033.