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Learn Good Boating Safety Habits Early
Life Jackets Save Lives

Boating life preserverWould you consider taking off in your car without strapping your kids into seat belts? Probably not. First, because you care about the safety of the kids in your care and second, because it's the law.

Well, when you get on board a boat the same concern for safety should motivate you to make sure that everyone, but especially younger less experienced swimmers, wear life jackets.

Most states have laws that require boat operators to make sure that jackets are available, but when adults go boating, jackets are often more decoration than safety device. Like seat belts, there are as many excuses for not wearing them as there are good reasons to tie one on.

When it comes to kids, the choice is less open. Most states require any children on a boat that is underway to be properly protected by a life jacket that fits them.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), the state's safe boating agency, issues a friendly warning. NDOW game wardens are getting worried about an increase in the number of children not wearing their lifejackets when riding in a boat.

“We see it on boats of all sizes, but an area where we may have some real problems is on houseboats,” said David Pfiffner, supervising game warden for NDOW. “Kids go in and out of the boat's interior, similar to going in and out of the house when at home. Once inside they take off their life jackets only to forget to put it back on when they go back outside.”

“Parents and guardians need to keep track of the children in their care and make sure they are wearing their life jackets,” Pfiffner said. “A life jacket laying in the bottom of the boat or stored under the seat does little good in an emergency.”

“Basically, if the boat is not beached, at anchor or tied to an object that prevents it from drifting or moving, the boat is underway and kids less than 12-years old should be in a life jacket,” said David Pfiffner, supervising game warden for NDOW. “The motor does not necessarily need to be running nor the sail raised for a boat to be considered underway.”

Keep your boating safe and happy. Use those vests and set up good habits for the young sailors on your boat.

Source: Nevada Department of Wildlife

More resources to boating safety on the Web:

U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety

Boating Safety Resource Page

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