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Boating Safety 101: Always Wear Life Jacket

Boating season will soon be ramping up all around Georgia and in its surrounding lakes.  To make sure your safe while enjoying one of the most popular activities in the area, you should know that your personal flotation device, more commonly known as your, is possibly the most important piece of safety equipment that you could wear on a boat. Therefore, it should be clear why it is of the upmost importance that you know how to use this equipment so that it can keep you safe in case of any accidents.

The life jacket, also called a life preserver, life vest or life belt, is intended to keep you afloat in the water and prevent drowning. Wearing a life jacket can mean the difference between life and death even for an experienced swimmer or boater.

Not all personal flotation devices are manufactured equally. It’s important to look for certain safety features that have been proven to keep a person safe in the water.

First of all, your personal flotation device must be approved by the Coast Guard. Look for this approval number or marker on the life jacket that you are planning to buy.

Make sure that the device is a perfect fit for you. The life jacket, when worn, should be snug and well-fitting. It should be comfortable to wear. If the device rides up and reaches your mouth, it may be too big for you.  If the jacket doesn’t fit you, look for another one. Do not attempt to tamper with the design of an existing jacket to fit you better.

Fortunately, today’s life jackets are very stylish which could encourage more to wear then while on the water.  They are typically also very well-fitting and comfortable, increasing the likelihood that the person will wear the device at all times on the water.  Getting a life jacket in a bright or fluorescent colour can increase the chances that you will be seen in the water.

Once you have worn the jacket, test it in the water to make sure that your device will function properly when in an emergency.  It is best to test your life jacket in shallow waters.  To do so, get in shallow water, let your body loose, and bring your knees to your chest, then push your head back. The life preserver should keep your head above water, and should allow you to breathe easily. It should also stay on your chest. If it fulfils all of these conditions, then you have yourself a good flotation device.

Wear the flotation device at all times in the water. Remember, in an emergency, you may not have enough time to throw on your jacket. Too many boaters allow their passengers to stay on the boat without wearing a personal flotation device.  However, this can be very dangerous. Make sure that everyone on your boat is also securely fitted into their life jackets.