The warm weather is here, which many associate with outdoor activities such as swimming and boating. The National Safe Boating Council has named the week of May 21 through May 27th as National Safe Boating Week for 2011. Their goal is to promote safe boating by conducting a series of on-going national campaigns. Their website has a variety of safe boating courses, details of their safe boating campaigns and other resources to assist anyone wanting to enjoy their time on the water and stay safe at the same time.
All too often, there are reports of boating accidents. In 80% of all fatal boating accidents, the cause of death is drowning. In 90% of those drowning, the person was not wearing a life jacket. Even the best swimmer can get into trouble in rough waters especially if the accident results in an injury or if the person is knocked unconscious. Wearing a life jacket will keep you afloat until help arrives or you're able to recover enough to swim to a nearby floating object.
Life vests have come a long way since the bulky over the head devises were designed. Life vests are designed with the size and weight of the person wearing it in mind. It's important to read the recommendation to be sure you and your family members are wearing the appropriate size and type of life jacket. Putting a life vest on your child that is too large can result in them slipping out of it if tossed in the water unexpectedly. Wearing one designed for a lighter weight may not keep you afloat when you need it to.
Each are designed for a purpose; general purpose would be sufficient in a pool setting whereas you would want to be sure your child is wearing a life vest suitable for boating if you intend on spending the day on the ocean with the family. Life vests range in price from relatively cheap to upwards of $50 or more, it all depends on the type of life jacket and its intended purpose. This is not an area to skimp or be looking for bargains when you make your decision to buy one. If taken care of, this investment will last a long time and may be responsible in saving your life one day.
Common sense is also important in all water sports. Avoid drinking alcohol when involved in water activities. Alcohol consumption while boating, swimming or water skiing simply do not mix so don't do it! Alcohol will affect your response time as well as affect your decision making when involving what could be a dangerous activity. Plan a family fun day on the water and take the necessary precautions to be sure everyone stays safe. Speak up if a family member or friend is creating an unsafe condition. Friends don't let friends drive-or swim drunk. Be smart, think first and have fun this summer.