Boating accidents happen each and every single day. Some are the result of natural occurrences, such as inclement weather conditions or choppy waves, while others are caused by the reckless actions of other sailors. However, regardless of the reason behind each boating accident, whenever a collision or capsizing occurs, it is more likely than not that those on board will suffer injuries.
Boating accident injuries can range from minor cuts and scrapes to severe back, neck, and brain trauma. The more serious the accident, the worse the injuries can be. But, there is one thing that can help prevent further bodily harm following a boating accident: life jackets.
When someone is involved in a boat accident, especially one where injuries ensue or victims are thrown from their vessels into the water, they may not be able to stay afloat for long. If the victim suffers a blow to the head that renders them unconscious or becomes impaled in the incident, they may not be able to survive on their own. That’s where life jackets come in handy.
Life jackets come in all shapes and sizes to fit the user. They work by keeping the person afloat, even when the user is unconscious or unable to move. In many instances, life jackets have helped keep victims of boating accidents buoyant until emergency crews were able to reach them.
Just to give you an example of exactly how critical life jackets are in saving lives, here are a few statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard:
- According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, of the total number of drowning accidents that were reported during the year, 84% of victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- Of the 94 persons who were killed in boating accidents after experiencing some form of bodily trauma, 60 were not wearing life jackets.
- When the cause of death was cardiac arrest, out of 15 victims who died, 10 were not wearing life jackets.
- 5 people died of hypothermia in 2014, 3 of which were not wearing life jackets.
From these statistics, we can clearly see a pattern emerging. The majority of boating accident victims who were NOT wearing life jackets were killed.
Does this mean that everyone who wears a life jacket will survive a boating accident? No. However, the number of boating accident fatalities that involved victims who weren’t wearing a flotation device were drastically higher.
In conclusion, life jackets can exponentially increase the likelihood of survival in the wake of boating accidents. While not every state mandates their use, it’s imperative that anyone who is planning on heading out into open waters wear a life jacket at all times.