The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has joined the Coast Guard to help raise public awareness on the use of life jackets, through a “Wear It Florida” campaign.
The campaign goal is clear and simple: to increase the number of recreational boaters who consistently wear a life jacket while on the water.
The most common misconceptions associated with wearing a life jacket, according MyFWC.com, are:
- The person is a great swimmer and doesn’t need a life jacket.
Even the greatest swimmers aren’t always ready to be thrown overboard, and a look at boating safety statistics makes that evident. Typically, more than half of Florida’s boating fatalities each year are due to falls overboard and boaters entering the water unprepared.
- The person is not a kid, but is an experienced boater and knows what he or she is doing.
Age and experience do not float. They also are not good indicators of whether survival is guaranteed in an unexpected fall overboard. On average, about one-half to two-thirds of Florida’s annual boating fatalities are men age 30 and older, with more than 100 hours of experience on the water.
- It is too hot to wear a bulky, uncomfortable life jacket.
The availability of inflatable life jackets makes wearing a life jacket more comfortable, as it is less bulky and less constrictive. An inflatable life jacket has twice the buoyancy of a traditional orange horseshoe life jacket and is less than half the size.
Set an example for your family and others around you by practicing safe boating habits and by wearing a life jacket.
For information on life jackets, including where to get them, check out Wear It Florida at MyFWC.com/boating/safety-education/wear-it-florida.
Visit the National Safe Boating Council at SafeBoatingCouncil.org for more tips.
Published September 09, 2020