FWC suggests life-saving holiday gift for boaters
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Media contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) has a suggestion for anyone shopping for a boater
this holiday. A new, comfortable, life jacket makes an ideal gift,
and it could save someone's life.
As FWC officers patrol Florida's waterways, one of
their main responsibilities is to help residents and visitors boat
safely. Officers often check boaters for adherence to safety
regulations and educate them about safe boating practices.
Unfortunately, at other times, FWC officers are called to the scene
of boating accidents.
"Frequently, a life jacket can save a life during a
boating accident," said Capt. Tom Shipp, of the FWC's Boating and
Many of the boating accidents the FWC investigates
involve drowning deaths. Last year, there were 65 boating
fatalities - 45 of them by drowning. The FWC confirms that life
jackets may have saved those lives and recommends boaters wear one
at all times on the water.
"A lot of people don't wear life jackets because
they feel they're uncomfortable," Shipp said. "However, with newer
models, such as belt packs or suspenders, you hardly feel them.
Replacing an old, bulky life jacket with a newer model makes a
Belt-pack and suspender life jackets are
inflatable. Some inflate automatically when a person falls into the
water, while others inflate after the wearer pulls a cord. Prices
of the belt-pack and suspender life jackets start at approximately
"Many people don't expect to need a life jacket,
particularly if they feel they are good swimmers," Shipp said.
"However, when boating accidents happen, you may not be able to
rely on your swimming skills."
Bottom line: If you fall overboard with a life
jacket, your chances of survival are greatly enhanced. This holiday
season, the gift of a life jacket could be a gift of life.
For more boating safety information, visit
MyFWC.com/Boating or call 850-488-5600.