WEAR IT Florida Campaign
Did you know that Florida has the unfortunate distinction of being the national leader in annual boating fatalities? A majority of fatalities every year are boaters that are reported swimmers who fall overboard and drown. These deaths can be easily prevented by wearing a lifejacket. Wearing a lifejacket can mean the difference between a fun day on the water and becoming a statistic. Don’t believe it could happen to you? It happens in Florida to an average of one person each week who never thought it could happen to them either. This is where the Wear It Florida campaign comes in to play. The campaign goal is clear and simple: to increase the number of recreational boaters who consistently wear a life jacket while on the water.
Common Misconceptions Associated with Life Jacket Wear
- I’m a great swimmer! Why would I need to bother with a life jacket?
Even the greatest swimmers aren’t always ready to be thrown overboard and a quick look at boating safety statistics make that quite evident. Typically over half of Florida’s boating fatalities each year are due to falls overboard and boaters entering the water unprepared.
- I’m not a kid; I’m an experienced boater. I know what I’m doing.
Age and experience don’t float. They also are not good indicators of whether you would survive an unexpected fall overboard. On average about one half to two thirds of Florida’s annual boating fatalities are men over the age of 30 with over 100 hours of experience on the water.
- It is just too hot out to wear something so bulky and uncomfortable! (Not to mention what it will do to my tan lines.)
The availability of inflatable life jackets has made wearing a lifejacket more comfortable as they are less bulky and constrictive. An inflatable life jacket has twice the buoyancy of a traditional orange horseshoe life jacket and is less than half the size! The biggest problem with inflatable jackets is forgetting that you are wearing them in the first place.
- Who will notice if I wear a life jacket?
Everyone will notice when you are not around because you didn’t wear it. Your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews will follow the example you set whether it is good or bad. Make yourself a good example by practicing safe boating habits- WEAR IT.