Summer Boating Safety: Choosing the Right Life Jacket

Summer Boating Safety: Choosing the Right Life JacketSummer is a great time for boating with kids. School is out, which leaves plenty of time to spend with your loved ones. But, boating with kids means some safety considerations and child proofing needs to be done beforehand. As we now take a closer look at how to find the perfect life jacket for your children, remember that a CT Boat Insurance policy will take care of your liability and financial obligations.

Life jackets might be bulky and not always the easiest to move in, but they save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids age 1 to 14. In 2009, 3,358 people were injured and 736 died in boating incidents. Of those who drowned, 9 out of 10 were not wearing life jackets. Wearing a life jacket, especially one customized to fit your needs and your small child like a glove, can save their lives.

Know which life jacket fits your child’s needs.

Depending on the type of boating you’ll be doing, a different life jacket may be required. For example, consider the following 3 main types.

  • Offshore – This type of life jacket is best for open ocean excursion where prolonged use is necessary in rough seas and rescue is unlikely. This likely won’t be what you need, but it’s good to know the difference.
  • Near shore buoyant – This is best used for near-shore boating activities with calm waters and where rescue is very likely.
  • Flotation aid – The most lightweight and comfortable of these flotation devices is this type. It’s intended for calm water use only, such as a lake or a harbor. Most likely, this will be the type of jacket your child needs.

Determine the right fit.

“Proper fit is imperative,” says Bernice McArdle, Executive Director of the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association. “Improper fit is the most common mistake parents make when buying a life jacket. Parents will often purchase for their child a life jacket that’s too big (and could easily slide off) on the assumption that the child ‘will grow into it.’ A life jacket won’t provide adequate protection if it doesn’t fit your child properly,” she explains to

Compare the arm holes, neck holes, and grip of the life jacket as the U.S. Coast Guard recommends. Be sure to check the proper size and weight requirements for each life jacket’s use. If there is too much room between the life jacket and your child, it’s too large and won’t provide the necessary protection they need should they fall in.

About Byrnes Agency

At Byrnes Agency we are proud to offer the complete watercraft insurance policies specifically designed to minimize your losses as a boat owner should your boating adventures go awry. We can also provide coverage for your personal property and fishing equipment in addition to protection against injury to you caused by an uninsured boater. Contact us today for more information about our comprehensive Windam County boat insurance policies.

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