So you’re out on a warm summer day planning on heading to the beach, river, or lake. Because the only thing on your mind right now is the fun that you’ll have, wearing a life jacket is most likely not on your mind. Accidental drownings happen all the time, and the best insurance when out on the water is wearing a life jacket. Here are 5 of the most common reasons for not wearing a life jacket.
#1 – It’s Too Restrictive and Uncomfortable
Like anything else, life jackets have evolved over the years. With so many different styles, sizes, and features, shop around to find the best one for what you’ll mainly use it for. It’s super important to have a good fit. A life vest that’s too big or too small WILL feel uncomfortable or restrictive in addition to not being as safe as one with a proper fit. For certain activities, you may want to consider an inflatable life vest which you might not even know it’s there.
#2 – But I’m an Excellent Swimmer
It doesn’t matter if you’re Michael Phelps. If you fall into the water unconscious due to an accident, your swimming skills will not help you. Those who can swim well, usually only due so in normal situations. If you happen to fall into very cold water or while wearing heavy clothing which becomes waterlogged, it’s amazing how quickly you realize that swimming will not help much. It’s doesn’t take much for hypothermia to set in. When panic sets in because you’re in a condition beyond your control, all logic goes out the window.
#3 – Land Is Nearby
It doesn’t take much water to drown if you are injured or unconscious. Just because you are fairly close to land doesn’t mean you’ll have the ability to make it to shore. In fact, 90% of all drownings take place in inland waters; not out at sea. Even something as safe-sounding as jumping on a water trampoline close to shore can be dangerous. All it takes is a hard collision or landing wrong on the trampoline before falling in the water. Some type of PFD should be mandatory with kids on these water bouncers or trampolines.
#4 – There are Life Jackets on the Boat
Just because there is a life jacket nearby doesn’t mean you’ll have time to put it on (or even simply grab it) if there is an accident. Same goes for seatbelts in a car. You can’t exactly go without wearing one and then quickly put one on in case of an accident. If you’re not wearing a life jacket, you also won’t be able to help others who may need help. Since many families go boating together, children and even babies on boats are more common than you may think.
#5 – I’ve Never Needed One Before
Just because you’ve gone out on the water 99 times without issue, who’s to say an accident won’t occur on #100? Back to the seatbelt analogy, would you stop wearing a seatbelt if you’ve never been in an accident? Of course not! Being out on the water is the same way. We can’t control everything in life and having an accident occur is definitely one of those things. While there are certain tips to get children to wear their life jackets, adults simply need to use common sense as motivation.
There are probably dozens of other reasons people give to not wearing life vest but the fact is, there is no excuse good enough for not wearing one. Whether you’re boating, kayaking, jetskiing, rafting, or other activity, stay safe and put on your life jacket.