Enjoy Your Time on the Water with the Proper Safety Gear

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 90 percent of the people who drown in a boating or water accident would be alive today if they had been wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident. Avoid being part of this statistic by following proper watersports safety guidelines and making sure you and your family are wearing the correct gear.
 
Start by reviewing the guidelines in your area as they differ from state to state. For example, Michigan requires that children less than 6 years of age wear a Type I or Type II personal flotation device (PFD) when riding in the open deck area of a boat. In all instances, be sure the PFD is U.S. Coast Guard approved.
 
“We offer three different sizes of children’s vests and we strongly recommend that children wear them around any body of water, including pools. Of course, it’s also extremely important that adults wear them whenever they are engaged in a watersport activity,” said Body Glove’s Jono Siegel.
 
Dunham’s Sports carries Body Glove’s Phantom line of vests, which are available in child (30-50 lbs.), youth (50-90 lbs.), men’s and women’s sizes. The adult sizes range from small to 2XL.
“Phantom vests feature a neoprene outer shell, which, unlike nylon, will feel better against your skin since it’s a more comfortable material. These vests also feature lumbar support and segmentation for easier movement,” Siegel added.
 
Also featuring a neoprene outer shell is the Traditional Vest from O’Brien. This vest offers the security of 2-belts and a zip closure. O’Brien also offers a nylon 4-belt adjustable Sport Vest, with versions available in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes.
 
“We’ve learned that people will tend to buy neoprene vests for themselves and nylon vests for their guests. Nylon and neoprene provide the same level of safety protection, so the difference is price and comfort,” explained O’Brien’s Scott Houseman.
 
According to the Coast Guard, the PFD must fit snugly and not allow the wearer’s chin or ears to slip through. Be sure to try them on in the store while wearing light (not bulky) clothing. Both of our experts recommend proper care to ensure the PFDs last a long time and work as designed.
 
“Make sure they dry out properly after use and store them out of the sun,” Houseman said.
 
“Test them for wear and buoyancy at least once each year. Waterlogged, faded or leaky jackets should be replaced,” Siegel added.
 
Follow these suggestions to ensure an enjoyable and safe season on the water.
 
-Water baby
 
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