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The Importance of Wearing a Life Jacket

Summer is upon us, and that means that many of us are heading to the lake to spend some time on the water. Whether you are boating for excitement or fishing, you should make wearing a life jacket part of your routine when you are on the water. The reasons for wearing a life jacket are far too important to ignore!

Boating accidents are far more common than you might think. In fact, in 2016 alone, the Coast Guard reported that there were 2,903 injuries and 701 deaths that resulted from recreational boating accidents. The 4,463 accidents also accounted for roughly $49 million in property damage. Over 80% of fatal boating accident victims drowned—and 83% of those were not wearing a life jacket.

Life Jackets and Boating in Missouri

Missouri law requires that all boaters have life jackets approved by the U.S. Coast Guard on board and accessible at all times for each occupant of the boat. Those under the age of seven should also wear their life jacket whenever they are on the vessel unless they are in the cabin area. Personal watercraft users must also wear a life jacket at all times.

Several types of life jackets are available, including those that self-inflate as needed. Some can also be worn around the waist. Manufacturers have made great strides in both fashion and comfort in the life jacket arena, which is helpful when encouraging others to wear life jackets as well.

The Importance of Wearing Your Life Jacket

Although Missouri law only requires that boaters have life jackets on board in most situations, it is a good idea to wear your life jacket at all times for safety. After all, the life jacket can only protect you if you wear it, and you may not have a chance to grab it if you fall overboard suddenly or the boat capsizes quickly. In fact, the majority of those who have drowned had life jackets available but chose not to wear them.

Life jackets are designed to keep your head above water so rescuers can find you. The life jacket provides you extra time for emergency teams to get to you, which can mean the difference between life and death. Even if you are an excellent swimmer, fatigue can set in quickly.

Remember, it only takes 60 seconds for an adult to drown and only 20 seconds for a child to drown. If both you and your child are not wearing a life jacket, you may need to make the painful decision of grabbing your own life jacket or putting your child’s life jacket on for him or her. You can avoid that type of situation by simply wearing the life jacket at all times and requiring your kids to do so as well.

Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney

Boating accidents can also lead to legal liability in many cases. Property damage and injuries associated with boating accidents can be significant, and you may have a right to compensation. Our team can evaluate your case and discuss your legal options with you. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment by calling 816-656-2596.

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