JUNEAU, Alaska (May 14, 2007)–Passengers from the Cruise Ship Empress of the North being offloaded onto the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty and civilian vessels after running aground at aproximately 2:00 a.m. here today. The Liberty took on 130 of the 248 passengers before offloading them onto the Alaska State Ferry Columbia, which will transport them back to the city of Juneau. (Official Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Chris Caskey) (from Coast Guard website)
Did you know that most drownings happen just a few feet from safety! Many data sets show that as high as 90 % of all drownings are close to safety, in one form or another.
Often, the victims of drownings are not only close to safety, but have personal safety devices close or have personal flotation devices. But…the victims are not using them or wearing them.
Each boating season, the personal flotation devices should be checked for leaks, tears, rips, cuts, and general wear and tear. They should be replaced.
Each season, your kids also change…bigger, taller, heavier, the kids need to be sized for proper fit and make sure the PFD fits each child snuggly and properly. Do this in shallow water to practice. Have the child put the PFD on, tilt his head back, and see that the water stays below the chin level. The mouth must be well above the water level if the device is used in turbulent waters or waves. Therefore proper weight and age sizing is very important.
It is a fun family event to practice throwing a type 4 (IV) flotation device. Important techniques typically come with the device. This few minutes may save a life.
Local and national groups say alcohol is the biggest common thread of up to 75-80 % of boating accidents. Always monitor the skipper of any craft if she or he has been drinking. Best rule is do not drink and captain the boating craft.
The types of PFDs include:
Type I – the offshore, rough water type
Type II – the near shore, calmer waters type
Type III – called a flotation aid, wearable, and quick rescue most likely
Type IV – is the throwable device
HAVE A SAFE BOATING SEASON. KNOW YOUR PASSENGERS. KNOW YOUR VESSEL.