Wearing a Lifejacket is as important as wearing a Seatbelt or Helmet, it can make the difference between life and death. A while ago the RNLI, RYA and the Coastguard launched a Lifejacket safety awareness campaign “Useless unless Worn”.

Most victims who perish from drowning were not wearing a Lifejacket. Despite these grim statistics, thousands of people venture into the water every day without wearing a Lifejacket and needlessly put their lives at risk. Ignorance, overconfidence and myths surrounding Lifejackets are the main culprits.

Myth 1 – If you are a good swimmer, you don’t need a Lifejacket

A large percentage of drowning victims were excellent swimmers. The ability to swim well cannot help you if you are incapacitated due to injury or alcohol. When an accident occurs, injury is a distinct possibility. Circumstances and the panic that usually accompanies an accident can also work against you. For example, it is not easy to swim to safety leaving behind friends and family in the water.

Myth 2 – Carrying Lifejackets on the boat is good enough

Lifejackets on board may give false reassurance, but it does not translate into increased safety. Most recreational boating accidents and emergencies occur in a matter of seconds and come without warning. If someone falls into the water or if the boat overturns, having Lifejackets on board may not help. Having life jackets on board may increase safety on large boats and ships, which usually stay afloat for considerable time in case of an accident. It won’t be of much help on the small boats used for recreational purposes.

Myth 3 – Lifejackets are bulky, hot, uncomfortable and don’t look cool

Unlike large bulky foam Lifejackets, which are sometimes shown on TV, Lifejackets meant for water sports are light, comfortable and look good. Some are not even noticeable and manufacturers keep coming up with better designs to make them more comfortable.

Myth 4 – Lifejackets make movement harder

If you select the right life jacket, it will not come in the way of any sporting activity. If you are unsure about the suitability of your Lifejacket for a particular activity, buy one that is specially made for that activity. You can buy Lifejackets that are specially designed for activities like fishing and rowing.

Myth 5 – It can’t happen to me

It’s obvious that all the unfortunate drowning victims were reasonably sure that it wouldn’t happen to them or they wouldn’t have ventured into the water in the first place. Optimism and confidence can never replace sensible safety precautions.

Myth 6 – Lifejackets are required only if the weather is bad

Most recreational boating accidents occur in good weather. In most accidents, the culprit is inexperience, impaired judgment, the lack of attention, equipment failure or speeding.

Myth 7 – Adults don’t need Lifejackets

Lifejackets are essential irrespective of age. About 80% of the people who drown during recreational activities are adults. Children are at higher risk only in swimming pools.

Myth 8 – Lifejackets are required only in deep water

There are many instances where people who were fishing or engaging in activities near the water’s edge have fallen into the water. Some became unconscious or were incapacitated due to injuries sustained in the fall. It was their Lifejacket that kept them alive until help arrived. Besides keeping you afloat, Lifejackets also provide other benefits. Lifejackets are designed to automatically turn you around so that your face is always out of the water. This ensures that you are able to breathe even if you are incapacitated.

A life jacket makes a huge difference to your safety when you are in or near the water. Always wear one and make sure that everyone with you is doing the same. Always make sure the Lifejacket is fitted properly and doesn’t ride up, because it is too slack.  Ideally use a Lifejacket fitted with a Crotch strap, will stop the Lifejacket potentially riding up which if activated can cause distress to the user. A crotch strap is designed to keep the Lifejacket in the correct position on the wearer.


Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial