Personal Flotation Devices

Every member of your crew should have a U.S. Coast Guard Approved Personal Flotation Device. PFDs, they float you don’t! Of the 519 recreational boating drowning deaths in 2000, the US Coast Guard approximates that 445 lives could have been saved if the victim had been wearing a life jacket. The following are guidelines for the care and use of PFDs:

  • Buy your own life jacket, and wear it. One size does not fit all.
  • Look at the label for size and weight limitations.
  • Try it on and check the fit. With straps and buckles secured, the life jacket should not slip over your head or cover your eyes.
  • Make sure the life jacket is Coast Guard approved.
  • Replace your life jacket if you find air leakage, mildew or rot.
  • Never alter a life jacket. It could lose its effectiveness.
  • Check your life jackets yearly for flotation and fit.
  • Wear a life jacket to set an example for younger children while increasing your chances of survival.
  • Make the Memorial Day holiday a gift-giving event – buy your boating children and (or) grandchildren a PFD fitted to their size at the beginning of each boating season. Children need special care because of changing size and distribution of body weight.