The boating season is beginning, so it’s a good time to make it known again that safety comes first on the water. The best safety routine in the book is strapping on personal flotation devices, but that doesn’t always happen because the crew might be too busy stowing the cooler or slathering on sunscreen to remember their life jackets.
If any passenger fails to put on a life jacket, blame the captain. The person in charge of the boat is responsible for the safety of all aboard. Never leave the dock until everyone is ready and understands that wearing a life jacket is required.
If everyone aboard must wear a life jacket, then every life jacket should be correctly buckled and fastened. Doing so will make them more comfortable, but more importantly, a properly fastened life jacket ensures all the passengers wearing them are safe in case of a boating accident.
Adults and teens are wise to wear life jackets, but on many boats, only children are wearing personal flotation devices. Boating laws require that youngsters wear life jackets, but there isn’t such a mandate for adults. Boaters just are required to have enough life jackets on board for every passenger. There is no law requiring that everyone must wear a flotation device. Absent such a requirement, Nebraska boaters ought to take it upon themselves to be safe.
Teens and adults may not want to wear their life jackets, but a PFD won’t protect anyone if there’s an accident and the life jacket is stowed under a seat rather than fastened securely on a crew member.
Wearing PFDs when the boat is underway is smart, but it’s also smart if the boat stops and passengers take a swim.
To their credit, Nebraska boaters carefully observe PFD rules when water skiing and wakeboarding. If anything goes wrong, the skier or wakeboarder has flotation.
We pose this question: If flotation could save a life in a skiing accident, doesn’t it follow that a passenger wearing a PFD stands a greater chance of surviving a boating collision or capsize?
Victims of a collision could be thrown overboard on impact. If they aren’t wearing life jackets, they might be too stunned to swim, or they may have to stay afloat an extended time until help arrives.
It makes sense to take the extra precaution and wear life jackets if swimming or skiing, so why not wear them at all times while on board?
Safety experts say to prepare for the unexpected. A life jacket gives its wearer a chance to survive the unexpected. When swimming and skiing, it’s sensible to wear a life jacket, so why not always wear one when on board a boat?