Waterways are second only to highways when it comes to accidental deaths. Many factors impact an individual when underway. Sun, wind, noise, vibration from the boat, motion and dehydration all act as stressors to the body when boating. These stressors can negatively impact a person's balance, vision, coordination and judgment. When alcohol is added to the mix, all the negative impacts can be seriously magnified. Not only is it important for the operator to boat sober, passengers also have an obligation to act responsibly. Erratic behavior or sudden, unexpected movements can result in injury, capsizing or a fall overboard. Alcohol can cause even greater disorientation to a person thrown into the water. So for captain and crew, boat safe, boat sober.
Big water, big boats, big foam
It is always a smart idea to wear a life jacket that allows unrestricted freedom of movement at all times on board an open boat. Being immersed unexpectedly in the water is a situation of last resort. In the circumstances of being forced to ride out a storm or abandon ship, a life jacket with maximum flotation, turning ability can provide protection. When rescue arrives, you'll be glad for the survival colors, reflective tape, whistle, light, locator beacons and anything else that has kept you alive and visible in open water. Skydivers wear their parachutes...
Football players wear their helmets...
Drivers wear their seat belts...
Responsible boaters wear their life jackets!
A U.S. Coast Guard Approved life jacket is designed to place an unconscious victim in a face up position, however it must fit properly. Too big, and the life jacket will ride up around your face. Too small, it will not be able to keep your body afloat. Life jackets designed for adults will not work for children! Try It on For Size:
#1 Check the manufacturer's label to ensure that the life jacket is a proper fit for your size and weight and U.S. Coast Guard Approved.
#2 Make sure the jacket is properly fastened with all the straps and buckles in good condition.
#3 Hold your arms straight up over your head.
#4 Ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings and gently pull up.
#5 Make sure there is no excess room above the openings and that the jacket does not ride up over your chin or face. For the best fit, try the life jacket in shallow water under safe and supervised conditions.
#6 Inflatable type life jackets only count under the law if they are actually being worn and are prohibited for Jet Ski Operators and water skiers.
#7 It’s a good idea to write the name of your vessel or registration number on the life jacket to help with lost lifejackets.
#8 Have life jackets within reach on your vessel and explain to passengers where they are and how to use them.
#9 Every person on board under the age of 13 must wear an approved Type I, II or III while the vessel is underway.
#10 Take a safe boating class.
Learn more valuable boating tips at the “About Boating Safety” Class on Saturday, April 20th from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in South Fort Myers at the Pine Ridge Community Center (next to the Iona McGregor Fire Station #75) at 15660 Pine Ridge Rd, Iona, FL 33908. The cost is $45 per person and includes study material. Advance registration is required, by phone 239-690-6780 option 1 or online at http://www.aux91fmb.org/safeboating/ - the class fills up quickly so register today.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the lead agency protecting America’s seaward frontier in recreational boating safety. Our vessels and aircraft deploy across the U.S. and they aid or save countless boaters every year.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit www.cgaux.org
Adult life jackets do not work for children. This Photo demonstrates children’s instinct to reach out to parent and would fall out from the bottom of an adult life jacket. Use a children’s life jacket that fits properly and use the crotch strap.
Kayaks and Paddleboarders need life jackets
On a vessel underway, children under 13 must wear an appropriate Coast Guard-approved life jacket Type I, II or III while the vessel is underway unless they are below deck or within an enclosed cabin.
Life Jacket Loaner Station can be found on Fort Myers Beach by the fishing pier. Supported by Sheriff’s Youth Activity League, Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Golisano Children’s Hospital and Lee County, in partnership with Lee County Medical Services, Florida Department of Health and Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties and Vasari Cares Foundation, Inc., Women's Golf Association.