BURRILLVILLE – Life jackets are essential for protecting kids, teens and adults participating in boating and watercraft activities on open water areas.
Whether it’s a local pond, lake or the ocean, life jackets need to be available for every single person onboard any boat or watercraft. Children should wear life jackets at all times when boating or riding on watercraft on open water anywhere. Teenagers and adults do not need to wear a life jacket at all times, but there should always be one readily available in case there is a boating mishap to avoid and prevent drowning.
All life jackets that you purchase should be orange in color. I have seen life jackets manufactured that are available in decorative colors and patterns, but these items are not the safest choice to make when buying life jackets. Personally, I’d rather be wearing a bright orange life jacket that can easily be visible at a distance by anyone that might be searching for me if my boat sinks in the ocean. Decorative blue or white life jackets are not the best options for open water life saving situations whatsoever.
I would also recommend that boaters practice safe exits off of boats and putting on life jackets before an actual boating accident or unforeseen event occurs on open water. Practicing safe boating exits and properly putting on life jackets once in awhile could actually help reduce fear and panic if an actual dangerous situation occurs in the future, especially regarding children and their reactions to such an event. I’m certain that practicing these safe boating exits and properly putting on life jackets on occasion would help reduce the time involved during an actual boating accident or mishap. If you are taking family members or friends out on a boat for the first time it would be extremely beneficial if everyone knew how to properly put on a life jacket and safely exit that vessel before heading out into open water.
Life jackets save lives. Always make sure a child wears one at all times while boating and make sure that everyone onboard knows where their life jacket is, and how to properly put one on in case of an emergency. It could save someone’s life.
Kids can color in this week’s Sunday feature with Li’l Skipper and Clam Cakes cartoon characters while you discuss water and boating safety with them. Have fun on open water and boat safely everyone!
Jim Weicherding is a Burrillville resident, and the founder and creator of an award-winning traffic safety effort Seasons of Safety. Weicherding contributes kids’ coloring cartoons, which can be printed and used to help parents discuss safety issues with their children. He has a long list of police officers and firefighters in his family and has worked with law enforcement and firefighters in a creative public safety capacity for more than two decades.