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Safety Should Always Come First

Updated on September 17, 2009

Hawaii

Any body of water is dangerous
Any body of water is dangerous
Also be watchful of other obstacles (i.e. other people, trash, solid structures, etc...)
Also be watchful of other obstacles (i.e. other people, trash, solid structures, etc...)

Life Jackets Save Lives

It seems as though the life jacket has become lost in the vortex of the past. It has become obsolete in respect to aquatic sports not because of some new technology that enables humans to float without the aid of a device but because people simply disregard their usefulness.

After a friend's disappearance and presumable death, I decided to speak up and attempt to remind everyone that this flotation device will save your life regardless of if you know how to swim or not.

It is a good rule of thumb for any boat owner to lay down some ground rules before letting others participate in the enjoyment that is boating. A good rule is to require all passengers, young and old, to wear 'the jacket'. Even if they have Olympic swimmer capabilities, this point becomes moot when dealing with boating accidents.

It is just like driving a vehicle: you could be the most excellent driver in the world but if you are driving on the same road as the worst driver in the world, there is the potential for an accident. In a car, the seat-belt analogous to a life jacket. You wear it for your protection if there should be an accident. The same 'rules of the road' apply to boating. More than likely, if you are involved in a boating accident, you will either be in the middle of the wreckage or you may be thrown from the boat upon impact. By wearing the life jacket, you increase your chances of survival tremendously. My answer to the 'I'm a good swimmer' argument is 'Yes, if you are conscious.' If not, then you are just as helpless as someone who has never learned to swim in their life.

I also recommend for boat owners to have the maximum number of life jackets available for the maximum number of people able to fit onto your boat. Different sizes are also a good idea since women tend to wear small jackets than men do. Each passenger should be instructed on how to properly strap themselves in to avoid the jacket coming off during the trip.

The most popular excuse for not using 'the jacket' relates to its coolness factor, or lack thereof. Personally I would much rather be a living human being than a corpse who was cool for the last boating trip they took.

All bodies of water are dangerous; wherever there are other boats there is the potential for an accident. Oceans are dangerous because there is nothing else surrounding you for miles (depending on how far out you venture). Lakes are dangerous because you have a limited amount of water for all the watercraft that might be on the lake. This environment is ripe for accidents. Rivers are dangerous because they have the most trash along the bottom and sides. Caution is necessary in each situation.

And I have been focused on boats as my subject but it applies to all watercraft. It is just as easy for a jet-ski to be involved in an accident as it is for a boat.

So before you go out on the water to have a good time, remember my recommendations for your safety. It does not make you uncool to place value on your life.

Do You Put Your Safety First?

Do you always wear a life jacket when going out onto a body of water?

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