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Why You Should Wear a Life Jacket

Posted April 30th, 2010
by BoatInsurance.org Staff (no comments)

It sounds like one of the most basic, common-sense safety procedures that you can follow when you’re boating. Everyone knows that wearing a life jacket when you’re boating will help you in the event that there’s a boating accident. In some cases, you may even be able to get a discount on your boat insurance if you always wear a life jacket while you’re out on your boat.

Just about any boating accident is going to result with you in the water, doing your best to survive. Unless you’re within a few hundred feet of shore, your chances of survival after a boating accident without a life jacket are relatively small.

Part of the reason for this survivability issue is that when you fall out of a boat, you’re likely to sustains some injury or another. This may hamper your ability to swim or even tread water. If you’re ejected from a boat without a life jacket, you have to depend on a quick rescue just to make it  back to shore alive.

Here are some basic boating statistics from 2006 that may interest you:

  • In that year, there were 4,967 reported boating accidents in the United States
  • Of those, 3,474 of the boaters involved needed medical attention beyond more than just basic first aid services.
  • 710 recreational boaters died in 2006.
  • Of those 710 boaters, 476 of the deaths were due to drowning.
  • 29 of those deaths were children under the age of 12.

There are other reasons to wear a life jacket while boating. Consider the following:

  • The most common types of fatal boating accidents are from capsizing and falling overboard. These two scenarios make up almost 60 percent of the boating fatalities.
  • It’s estimated that 90% of victims that drown after capsizing or falling overboard would have lived if they had been wearing a life jacket.
  • Skill and experience don’t prevent all boating accidents. Most boating accidents involve boaters that have as much as 100 hours of boating experience or more, and are 36 years of age or older.
  • Today’s life jackets are more comfortable and lightweight than ever. Comfort is no longer an excuse not to wear a life jacket.

Photo via miserychick

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