Personal Floatation Device
LIFE JACKETS… THEY FLOAT, YOU DON’T
Pick the One That’s Right for You and Your Passengers
In Hawaii, children 12 years of age and under must wear a personal floatation device (PFD) while aboard a vessel operating or anchored offshore (HAR 13-243-1).
Approximately 85-90% of the people who die in boating accidents ended up in the water unexpectedly and drowned. Adults should wear their life jackets at all times while on the water and serve as a good example to their children.
The following is a recommended checklist to ensure the effectiveness of your lifejackets.
- Check the Fit: Adjust each life jacket for the intended wearer so it fits snugly. This prevents the device from riding up and supplies better buoyancy.
- Check Flotation Characteristics: Depending on the care and use of the life jacket, there is the potential for buoyancy loss. Each life jacket should be checked periodically to be sure that it can still provide adequate flotation for the wearer. This can be done by putting on the device, adjusting it snugly and walking into water until it supports the wearer.
- Check Out the Materials: Give each buckle and strap a strong tug. Pull hard on the life jacket’s seams to make sure they are intact. Pull the fabric to make sure it does not tear. If it doesn’t tear, the fabric is probably strong enough to resist rips and tears in an emergency situation. Non-foam life jackets should be checked for holes. Squeeze each panel to determine if there is a leak or hole. Water will enter into the life jacket and cause you, and it, to sink. Your life jacket must be in serviceable condition to save your life.
The proper use, care and maintenance of your life jacket is as important as any other aspect of boating. Proper maintenance of your life jacket includes:
- Keeping it out of the sun when not in use;
- Keeping it away from gasoline and oil;
- Not using it as a seat cushion;
- Not using it as a fender.