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