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LAW REQUIRES YOUNG BOATERS TO WEAR LIFE JACKET
It’s easy to overlook as you think that accident will never happen. You’re
only going a short distance in the boat and you don’t plan to go fast but
in the wink of an eye bad things can happen.
Boat operators need to remember that anytime their vessel is moving, even
if it is only adrift, that any passenger under 13 must wear a personal
flotation device, according to TWRA.
If a boat is not docked or tied to a fixed object, then a young passenger
is required to wear a PFD (life jacket). A boat does not have to be under
the power of a motor for the law to apply. It applies even if the boat is
“Young boaters that are in a cabin or enclosed area aren’t required to
wear a PFD,” noted TWRA Director Ed Carter. “Minus those enclosures,
however, the law helps provide protection to our boating youngsters.” The
PFD law has been required several years by TWRA, but is now also a U.S.
Coast Guard law nationwide.
With the 4th of July holiday weekend fast approaching, the TWRA would like
to remind boaters to be wary of “boater fatigue” while on the water.
“Boater fatigue” is a phenomenon in which a combination of sun, wind,
noise, vibration and boat motion can triple the effects of alcohol on
“Boater fatigue” can occur when a combination of the sun, wind and
physical activity dehydrates the body. Mildly dehydrated people will
absorb alcohol more quickly into their system and will have a higher blood
alcohol content than non-dehydrated people. Nationally, more than 50
percent of all recreational boating fatalities involve alcohol use.
This phenomenon is not only a concern for boat operators, but passengers
as well. Passengers may think they can drink alcohol and boat safely if
they have a designated driver, but fatalities and injuries can occur when
intoxicated passengers fall overboard or try to do recreational
activities, like water skiing.
TWRA recommends that all boaters take a safe boating class and always wear
a life jacket. Nine out of ten boating-related drownings involve a victim
who was not wearing a life jacket. Remember – “It Floats, You Don’t”.