Many people believe that simply having their life jacket on the boat or water vessel they are using is enough. However, accidents happen quickly and usually they happen without warning. The Wear It Oswego! and Wear It New York! initiatives are busy this Summer educating boaters about the importance of wearing a life jacket whenever they are on the water. They are spreading the word that you can keep yourself safe this summer while you are out having fun on the water.
Ro Woodard, Education Specialist for the NYS Parks and Marine Services Bureau said, “the wear rate for life jackets is low among adults that don’t have to wear them.” The Wear It! campaign is working hard to change the views that people have of using life preservers. You might think that you don’t need a life jacket because you know how to swim. You might not want to wear one because they seem bulky and hard to move around in. The thing is you never know if there will be circumstances where you need a life jacket and with the different options that are now available, there are life preservers that will work for your purposes and preferences.
One of the newest forms of life preservers are inflatables. They aren’t big and bulky and some are as small as a belt pack. Inflatable life preservers are lightweight and cooler and can be pulled off and over your head in the case of an emergency. These life preservers have a carbon dioxide cartridge inside and are inflated either manually or automatically (which is recommended).
The most important thing to remember when wearing a life jacket is “To have it properly secured, the proper fit, and nothing is a guarantee. Respect your surroundings,” said Jeff McCrobie, chief of the Oswego City Fire Department. To make sure that your life jacket fits properly McCrobie said “Check the tag or the inside of the life jacket to see if it contains weight guidelines. Check instructions that come with it. Does it fit snugly? It should.” It is also important to remember that when choosing a life that they should be US Coast Guard Approved.
Wear It New York! is trying to get people to think about situations where they should choose to wear a life jacket. For instance, if you are boating by yourself or boating when the weather takes a turn for the worse. However, there are instances where all people are legally required to wear a life jacket. All children under the age of 12 are required to wear a life preserver and they are required for everyone being towed by a boat, jet ski, etc. Click here for a list of scenarios in which you should consider wearing a life jacket.
Wear It New York! will be at Wright’s Landing in Oswego, New York on Monday, July 29th, the day after Harborfest. They are encouraging boaters to sign the pledge to wear a life jacket whenever they are out on the water. Those who sign the pledge will receive a free whistle for their life jacket. They along with Wear It Oswego!, encourage all boaters to know their surroundings, respect the water, never go out alone, and “Wear It!”