Friends Don’t Let Friends Go Without a Life Jacket

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – In preparation for the opening of Hagg Lake to fishing and boating activity, the Coast Guard Auxiliary reminds the boating public and everyone who lives, works or plays around the water that friends don’t let friends go without a life jacket.

Whether you plan to go fishing, waterskiing, or just want to enjoy a day on or around the water, the single most important thing you can do to prevent a tragedy is to “just wear it.”

The statistics are fairly consistent in that each year, between 80 and 90 percent of those who die in a boating accident drown. An overwhelming number of these drowning victims were not wearing life jackets. Most boating safety experts believe that the majority of these deaths could have been prevented, if only the drowning victim had simply been wearing a properly fitted life jacket.

Wearing a life jacket on a boat is akin to wearing a seat belt in your car. Just as you shouldn’t start your journey in you car without buckling up, you need to wear your life jacket anytime you are on or near the water. While the law requires most children to wear a life jacket, there are no laws requiring adults to. It is believed that the life jacket wear-rate for adults is somewhere around five percent, far below the wear-rate for seat belts.

The life jacket of old were bulky and uncomfortable but, there are now many styles to choose from including inflatable life jackets that offer a maximum amount of comfort and buoyancy.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary urges all boaters, including sailors and paddle craft operators, to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket at all times when on or near the water. Moreover, so that they can be prepared to deal with emergencies, such as a person falling overboard, it is strongly recommended that they take a boating safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is composed of uniformed, non-military volunteer civilians who assist the Coast Guard in all of its varied missions, except for military and direct law enforcement. These men and women can be found on the nation’s waterways, in the air, in classrooms and on the dock, performing Maritime Domain Awareness patrols, safety patrols, vessel safety checks and public education.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary was founded in 1939 by an Act of Congress as the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and re-designated as the Auxiliary in 1941. Its 35,000 members donate millions of hours annually in support of Coast Guard missions.

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