WATERWAYS OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Skydivers wear their parachutes... Football players wear their helmets... Drivers wear their seat belts... Responsible boaters wear their life jackets!
71% of Planet Earth is covered by water. Of the 50 states in the United States, the state with the highest percentage of water is Michigan at 41.5%. The state with the lowest percentage of water is New Mexico at 0.2%.
Whether you live in a coastal state and enjoy the ocean, or spend your leisure time at a natural lake or river, you know the importance of water safety. Expecting the unexpected is basic to all safety preparations and having the right gear is a good place to start. We have an entire military branch that is dedicated to maritime safety so we will defer to them for the information that you need to make the most of your time enjoying the wet parts of our Great Outdoors.
Here, then, is the United States Coast Guard:
There's no excuse not to wear a lifejacket on the water!
Boaters enjoy the feel of sun and spray. So it's tempting to boat without wearing a lifejacket especially on nice days. But most boating related drownings happen on nice days.
- The best lifejacket is the one you will wear.
- Certain lifejackets are designed to keep your head above water and help you remain in a position that permits proper breathing.
- Some styles of lifejackets are not intended for weak or non-swimmers (read the label and be honest).
- To meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements, a recreational vessel must have a U.S. Coast Guard Approved lifejacket for each person aboard.
- Lifejacket wear regulations for children may vary by state.
- Adult-sized lifejackets may not work for children. Child size lifejackets are available.
- When worn correctly a foam filled lifejacket will fit snugly, and will not allow the lifejacket to rise above the wearer's chin or ears.
- Foam filled lifejackets should be tested for wear and buoyancy at least once a year. Waterlogged, faded, or otherwise damaged lifejackets should be discarded.
- Most adults only need 7 to 12 pounds of buoyancy (31 to 53 Newton) to keep their heads above water.
How Do Lifejackets Save Lives?
- By providing buoyancy if you unexpectedly find yourself in the water.
- By providing buoyancy if you purposely jump into the water to save someone else.
- By providing buoyancy when you are no longer able to keep yourself afloat due to fatigue, injury, or cold.
- By providing buoyancy if you are a weak or non-swimmer.
For more information on water and boating safety you can go to uscgboating.org. Plan your adventures for maximum enjoyment and . . .
REMEMBER THE GREAT OUTDOORS!!