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According to data from the US Coast Guard, 76% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Known to use life vests, nearly 85% of these drowning victims did not wear a life vest.
According to statistics, more than half of drowning survivors — and receiving treatment in the emergency room — require further hospitalization. It only takes 60 seconds for adults to drown, while children are reduced to 20 seconds.
This is why not wearing a life vest is number one on our list.
However, it is not enough to equip a boat with a personal flotation device or PFD.
The water accident happened so quickly that it was impossible to reach the stored life vest and put it on. In fact, it is difficult at best to wear it when you are in the water, sometimes it is impossible in terrible situations such as cold/cold water, high waves, fast-moving rapids, or when the person in the water is intoxicated or unconscious .
For those who often wear life vests, please be aware that there are some things you might overlook that will cause your life vest to disappoint you when you need it most. These are the items that complete the rest of our list. As you will learn in this article, knowing what to look for and why it is important will greatly help keep you and your passengers away from harm.
The Top 8 List of life vest Fails
1. Not wearing a life vest.
2. Allowing children to wear adult life vests.
3. Choosing a life vest that is not easily visible to rescuers and other boaters when you're in the water.
4. Choosing a life vest that is not US Coast Guard-approved.
5. Skipping the routine care and maintenance of your life vest or ignoring its condition.
6. Using a life vest that is unsuitable for your intended activity or water environment.
7. Selecting a life vest that does not fit you properly.
8. Leaving one or more straps, zippers, or ties unfastened.
How to prevent common life vest failures
First, make sure your life vest is brightly visible in the water. For foam-filled vests, yellow or orange are good colors, while inflatable vests can be any color on the outside because their bright yellow air chambers are hidden inside the shell.
Next, check whether it is in a usable state; all buckles and zippers are working properly. Then make sure that the chest size and weight of the lifejacket are suitable for you, and very suitable for your boating activities. General purpose life vests are different from those used for water sports such as paddling or water skiing. But please note that although the dynamic strength test can ensure that the life vest is intact, it cannot prevent or reduce injury.
Fasten all belts, zippers and ties. Tighten the adjustment strap and tuck the loose end in. Then make any final adjustments you need to ensure a firm fit.
When you are the operator of a ship, your responsibilities don't stop there. It extends to your passengers and crew. It is not known whether they have chosen the right life vests or wearing them is unacceptable.
Most vest-style inflatable floating aids can meet transportation requirements as long as they are easy to access, but they can only be worn by people who are at least 16 years old.
When the vessel is sailing, children under the age of thirteen must wear suitable life vests approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, unless they are under deck or in an enclosed cabin. Toddlers need life vests with head cushions, lifting loops, and leg straps.
If your boat is 16 feet or longer, you also need to be equipped with a throwable float approved by the U.S. Coast Guard immediately.