You think you may know me, but you really don’t. Because the law says you have to keep me aboard your boat, you think you’re safe. But you put me in places so hard to find, under piles of junk or buried in lockers so deep that no one will ever know who I am, especially if something happens to you, or if something bad happens very fast, like most accidents do.
Of all of the fatal boating accident victims who drowned, almost 85% weren’t wearing a life jacket. I wish I had gotten to know that 85%. I’ll bet their families do, too.
You’ve never taken me out of my new packaging, or let me meet your family or friends. You barely even talk about me. Everyone knows where to find the fishing rods, the cooler full of drinks, or the sunscreen. But me? Hardly anyone knows I exist.
About the only time you talk about me is when you take little boating guests aboard. You put my large adult-size on a small child, thinking I’ll keep them safe. But sadly, all that little guy has to do is put their hands over their head, and poof! I’ve gone up and over their heads. I don’t mean to, but I just can’t hang on their little bodies. Get a right-sized kids life jacket.
You don’t like the way I feel on hot day? I don’t like the way you sweat either, but that doesn’t stop me from loving you. I’ve slimmed down a lot lately, lost a lot of my size and bulk, and given you lots of room to move around. If you don’t believe me, I have a lot of good, comfortable life jacket friends in all shapes, styles and sizes down at the boating supply store looking for a good home.
Just remember, when you need me, I will be there for you. But only if I’m worn, or very easy to get to, like under your seat. While I’m a little hurt that you may not choose to wear me all of the time, try putting me on a little more frequently. Just try it. I won’t tell anyone you’re doing the right thing.
I’m your life jacket. Remember that I’m here to save to your life, but only if you’ll let me.
About the BoatUS Foundation:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half-million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.