Selecting the proper buoyancy aid or life jacket for your activities can be challenging. Is a life jacket really useful? With so many options available and technical terms that can be perplexing, you risk picking the wrong one or, worse yet, employing none at all. Wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) will keep you floating if you fall into the water. Although there are many distinct kinds, buoyancy aids—particularly lifejackets—are the most popular.
Is a life jacket really useful?
The correct life jacket can differ between life and death depending on the aquatic activity you are participating in. The urge to remove your life jacket entirely can increase if you select the incorrect type of life jacket, which can leave you frustrated and unable to enjoy what you’re doing entirely.
We’ll go over the various PFDs available in this guide, along with the activities for which each one is most suited. We also advise maintaining and checking your life jacket to function correctly if you ever need to use it.
Why should you wear a life jacket?
Around 200 individuals perish in the coastal seas near the UK and Ireland each year. People participating in a variety of water-based and waterside activities experience these catastrophes. According to research, wearing a life jacket when submerged in cold water can increase your chances of survival by up to four times. Wearing an adequately sized, maintained, and appropriate life jacket or buoyancy aid could save your life, regardless of what you’re doing.
You could quickly lose contact with your boat if you tumble over the edge while unattached. Your chances of survival will be significantly reduced due to the significant increase in rescue difficulty, particularly at night. Staying on your boat or close to it is always the smartest thing to do. Make it a rule to always clip onto secure locations throughout the boat at night, when you’re by yourself on deck, or when the weather is choppy.
A harness line with hooks at both ends is a must. Clipping on is crucial on sailing boats, where the motion and heel angle might be unpredictable. Use a lanyard that is as short as possible to keep you from slipping off the edge whenever possible. Stop the boat right once if someone falls overboard while wearing a safety lanyard since being dragged through the water next to a boat can be fatal.
Motorboats and fast vessels
When exiting the cockpit on a motorboat to perform an activity on deck, such as anchoring, it is advised to clip on. When sailing or motoring quickly, it is not a good idea to clip on since the attached person could be dragged through the water if they go overboard.
A suitable life jacket or buoyancy aid must be carried by every person onboard every vessel in Ireland, according to the legislation. On an open boat or the deck of a boat with rooms less than 7 meters long, you must always wear a personal flotation device. No matter the size of the vessel, everyone under the age of 16 must wear a personal flotation device on an open boat or deck if the vessel has accommodations.
Cold water shock
The body’s uncontrollable response to immersion in cold water (15°C or lower) is known as cold water shock. Initial submersion will cause the body to gasp reflexively, which is a sudden intake of breath. This is followed by a four-fold rise in breathing rate and corresponding increases in blood pressure and heart rate, which can put some people at risk for heart attacks. Even the fittest person will be unable to swim or concentrate on breathing for up to three minutes during these symptoms. Survival depends on wearing a life jacket with the proper buoyancy.
Try to maintain your composure and allow your life jacket to keep you afloat during the early phases of cold water shock. From this point on, your ability to survive will depend on your clothing, your lifejacket’s features and fit, and the quantity of energy you burn. Even the best swimmer will experience “swim failure” without a life jacket after about 30 minutes of swimming in chilly water. There is no need to swim if you wear a life jacket that fits properly and has crotch straps; instead, you may focus on staying warm, saving energy, and being seen.
- Make sure it Fits Before Going Out.
- You must select a life jacket that fits properly.
- Oversized jackets increase the risk of the flotation device pushing up and around your face.
- A body cannot stay afloat in a jacket that is too small.
Is a life jacket really useful? I’m hoping that this helps you understand why it’s essential to wear a life jacket. For your aquatic activity, Cabela’s offers a wide variety of options. Stay careful and have fun while you’re out on the lake!