Monday, August 16, 2010
Tubers and Floaters require Life Jackets
Salt Lake – Utah State Parks and Recreation Boating Managers report a large increase in tubers on local rivers and want to remind these non-traditional boaters they must comply with life jacket laws. Utah State Parks Boating Rangers plan to increase their presence at local rivers to urge compliance and prevent drownings.
Inner tubes, air mattresses and all other flotation devices are considered boats when they are used to carry people down a river. Therefore, Utah law requires tubers and floaters to wear a properly-sized, approved and fastened life jacket.
Nationally, approximately 700 people drown each year from recreational boating accidents and the simple act of wearing a life jacket can drastically reduce this number. Much like a helmet to a cyclist, life jackets are an essential part of boating safety equipment and should be worn at all times.
Life jackets are no longer the orange, hot and bulky vests that are commonly associated with on-the-water safety gear. New innovations and developments in life jackets have produced smaller, sleeker, and much more comfortable versions.
Wear on the Boat
Although many boaters often stow life jackets on their boats, very few choose to wear them. Nearly 80 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
“In the event of an accident, there is not enough time to grab a life jacket and put it on properly before you are in the water,” stated Utah State Parks Assistant Boating Program Manager Chris Haller. “If faced with strong currents or unfavorable weather conditions, you will not only have trouble securing your life jacket, but will be unable to help passengers on your boat.”
Passengers 12 and younger must wear a properly-sized and US Coast Guard approved life jacket when the boat is in operation. However, it is a good, safe boating practice for everyone to always wear a life jacket.
For additional boating safety information go to http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/ or call (801) 538-BOAT. Wear it Utah!