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Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's) - Life Jackets
EIGHT OUT OF TEN BOATING-RELATED DROWNINGS INVOLVE PERSONS NOT WEARING A LIFE JACKET.
No one ever plans to fall overboard. Life jackets don't work unless you wear them. They are almost impossible to find and put on once you are in the water.
Half of all boating fatalities are from falling overboard/capsizing. There are five types of life jackets available, but not all life jackets are suitable for all activities.
Type I (inflatable and inherently buoyant types) -- best for offshore, open/rough water activities where rescue might be slow in coming. These provide the most buoyancy and will turn most unconscious wearers to a face-up position.
Type II (inflatable and inherently buoyant types) -- best for inland or calm water situations where there is a good chance of fast rescue (fishing, etc.). These will turn many unconscious wearers into a face-up position, but not as surely as type I.
Type III (inflatable and inherently buoyant types) -- designed for general boating on inland waters. Not for use in water sports such as water skiing and personal water crafts. Generally most comfortable. Will support wearers in a face-up position.
Type IV (throwable device) -- best offshore on calm waters where help is always nearby. Used as a good backup to wearable PFDs for coastal cruising and general boating.
Type V (inflatable and inherently buoyant types) -- Only for special uses, conditions and activities that are marked on product label. Make sure jacket fits, is comfortable and lets you stand out in the crowd.
Save brochures that come with all lifejackets. Make sure your chin and ears will not slip through the neck hole. Try jacket on. Make sure it's not going to slip off or limit your movement when you need it most. Always check buoyancy in shallow water before venturing far from shore. Orange may not be your color, but you want to be highly visible in the water. Take your time making decision and don't make decision based on price or fashion. Remember it's a LIFE jacket.
Inflatable toys, rafts and other non-approved flotation devices should never be used in place of life jackets.
Maintain Your Life Jacket
Try your jacket on at the start of every season before you get out on the water. Never alter to make it fit.
Check jacket for rips, holes and tears and make sure straps and hardware are in place and secure.
Don't leave your jacket exposed to long periods in the sun. Sunlight and heat can weaken some synthetic fabrics and degrade buoyancy material.
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