Wear Your Life Jacket
National statistics show that in 2014, 78% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims, 84% were not wearing a life jacket. Missouri law requires boaters to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board and accessible for each occupant of the boat. Children under the age of seven are required to wear a life jacket whenever they are on a boat unless they are in the cabin area of a houseboat or cruiser. All personal watercraft users are required to wear life jackets anytime they are underway. The simple act of choosing to wear a life jacket has made a huge difference for many accident survivors.
The life jacket industry has made great advancements in styles and comfort for recreational boaters. There are self inflating models available for adults that can be worn as light suspenders or even as small fanny pack pouch styles that can be worn around the waist. It is key for boaters to be familiar with their life jackets and ensure they fit properly. The most common error for youth life jackets is allowing children to wear ones that are too big. If a child's life jacket is too big or not tightened properly it may not support their head above the water line. Many child-sized life jackets are available with popular characters to encourage kids to wear them. Of course, the best way to encourage kids to wear a life jacket is for adults to lead by example and wear a life jacket. For more information on life jacket styles and proper fit visit the North American Safe Boating Campaign web site at: