This week, I am writing about some of the common violations we see relating to Personal Floatation Devices (PFD), otherwise known as life jackets.
Each person aboard a watercraft must be wearing or have readily accessible an approved life jacket. Common types of watercrafts are boats, canoes, PWCs (Jet Ski), kayaks, paddle boats and stand up paddleboards.
The life jacket must be in good condition with all straps, zippers and/or buckles in working order.
The life jacket must be correctly rated for the person who is wearing it.
Children under age 10 must be correctly wearing an approved life jacket when the watercraft is under way. There are exceptions if the boat has an enclosed cabin where the child is, or if the child is on a watercraft that is operated by a licensed captain.
All watercraft 16 feet or longer (except canoes and kayaks) must have an approved type IV, commonly called a throwable cushion, readily accessible on board.
All occupants aboard a personal watercraft (Jet Ski) must be wearing an approved life jacket.
Here are some other safety related reminders from the Minnesota DNR:
Approved PFDs are available for all ages and for various boating activities.
Wearing your PFD will protect you from cold water in several ways. It decreases the amount of movement necessary to remain afloat, and it helps to insulate you from heat loss.
Cold water robs body of heat 25 times faster than the air. If you capsize or fall out of your boat, immediately attempt to re-board your craft.
Booze is bad news! Alcohol also adversely affects vital body functions such as balance, coordination, vision and judgment. Combining the effects of cold water and alcohol can speed the onset of hypothermia (a dangerous cooling of the body's inner temperature), causing even good swimmers to drown in minutes often within a few feet of safety.
We teach our students the first and last rule of boating safety is to wear your life jacket. So until next time, safe boating and wear your life jacket!
(Sgt. Scott Goddard is the supervisor for the Water Patrol, Dive Team, Civil, Transports and Court Security Divisions of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office. Goddard is a lifelong resident of Crow Wing County and grew up boating and fishing on the Whitefish Chain. He can be contacted at 218-829-4749 or email@example.com.)
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