With just one week away from the unofficial start of summer, we are definitely daydreaming of summer days out on the boat, enjoying some sun. The fun does however bring some risk. In 2015, where cause of death was known, 76% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. The Coast Guard does require a life vest be on board for every passenger and that children must wear one at all times. Wearing a life vest can go a long way providing buoyancy while waiting for rescue, but sometimes, just a life vest isn’t enough.
The last thing on your mind when you go out fishing or for a leisurely ride is ditching your craft. Accidents happen, be it from weather-related issues, or boat malfunction. Being that it is National Safe Boating Week begets the question; are you prepared?
Even in the summer, there is a risk of hypothermia even with water temperatures around 70 degrees! If immersed in 60 – 70-degree weather, the average time before exhaustion or unconsciousness is 2 – 7 hours (dependent on individual differences) with a survival time of up to 40 hours. To increase your survival time, it is best, when possible, to pull yourself out of the water onto a floating object, like a life raft.
It pays to be prepared. Yes, a raft is additional expense and the likelihood of needing it is low but the consequence of not having one, when you need it is catastrophic. A life raft is designed to keep everyone together and out of the water, providing protection from the elements and creating a larger visual while awaiting rescue. It is the single most important safety equipment, that you never hope to use.
Check out Life Rafts 101: A Buyer’s Guide for Responsible Offshore Anglers for tips on what to look for when purchasing a life raft.
Related PostsLife Rafts: Determining your Capacity Needs
Life Raft Inflation: Air vs. CO2
Coast Guard Alaska Season 2