With so many waterways, and even a whole ocean, near our vicinity it is no surprise that during summer many individuals opt for many different types of water sports. Fishing, swimming, and generally boating can all offer an opportunity to have fun in the sun while still enjoying the natural beauty outside. However, while most individuals are aware that a certain level of maintenance should be employed when enjoying these summer activities, such as ensuring boats have proper fuel, too little realize the importance of wearing life jackets.
As a whole lifejackets can come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors; additionally, many are lightweight, thin, and flexible. However, aside from mere athletics, lifejackets can also ensure safety both in and around the water.
How exactly do life jackets save lives?
- They help when one is capsized in rough water.
- When sea conditions suddenly become unexpected and cause one to sink.
- When an individual is injured by rocks or other submerged objects.
- In the event that one becomes unconscious due to carbon monoxide fumes.
- When one is tossed into freezing water.
- When one loses their balance.
- Any even that causes one to be unable to swim!
What you should know about life jackets:
- Certain styles of life jackets are designed to keep your head above water so that you can continue to breathe properly. However, other life jackets are used essentially like a floatation device.
- In order to meet U.S. Coast Guard approval, a boast must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for each and every individual on board. Boats that are more than 16 feet must also have at least one Type IV throwable device in addition to the life jackets.
- All states, including Texas, have regulations regarding life jackets worn by children.
- A child cannot wear an adult-sized life jacket! Special life jackets are available for children. In order to be effective a life jacket must be worn to fit snuggly and not allow one’s chin or ears to slip through.
- Life jackets should be tested for buoyancy at least once each ear. Any life jacket that is faded, leaking, or waterlogged should be discarded.
- All life jackets should be properly stored!
When going on an outing near water remember to:
- Have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Select the proper life jacket to fit both the activity, as well as the age and size of the wearer.
- Trial test the life jacket in shallow water in order to ensure it keeps your chin above the water and allows you to breathe easily.
- Check your life jacket for any signs of distress and ensure that the jacket is still viable to use.
- If you are a boat operator ensure all passengers are wearing well fitting life jackets.
These rules may be simple, but they are extremely important. Not only will they help you enjoy your summer water activities, but they will also save lives!
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