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Posted 6/16/2011

Release no. 11-038


Contact
Lisa A. Parker
251-690-2505
lisa.a.parker@usace.army.mil

MOBILE, Ala – The US Army Corps of Engineers encourages water safety by purchasing a life jacket this Fathers’ Day. Ninety percent of those who drown in Corps lakes and rivers were not wearing a life jacket.  Many of those who drown knew how to swim, but did not know how to swim well, or did not know their physical limits, and did not survive.  When you become exhausted while swimming or are unconscious due to an accident you cannot just climb out of the water to save yourself, but if you are wearing a life jacket it will save your life or the life of someone you love.

 

You have probably heard excuses for not wearing a life jacket while boating or swimming.  Most of the time it is about how uncomfortable they are and how you cannot get a good tan while wearing one, but that is just not true anymore.  Inflatable life jackets are lightweight and easier to wear than ever before.  They are compact, comfortable to wear and they come in styles that resemble either a set of suspenders or a belt pack that goes around your waist.

 

 Inflatable life jackets rely on an inflation chamber that provides flotation when it is deployed either automatically or manually by a replaceable CO2 cartridge.   All inflatable life jackets, as a backup, have a tube that you can blow into to inflate the life jacket if needed, which is also used to deflate the life jacket.

 U.S. Coast Guard approved inflatable life jackets are only approved to be worn by someone 16 years of age or older.  You should only wear an inflatable life jacket if you know how to swim, because the inflation of the life jacket can take 4-10 seconds and that may cause some who cannot tread water to panic.  Like any life jacket, you should take care of it.  Annually check its performance by orally inflating it and leaving it overnight to ensure there are no leaks.

Some people will not buy an inflatable life jacket because they think it costs too much so if you know someone like that; ask yourself how much is their life worth to you?  If they will not wear a life jacket for themselves, then buy them one as a gift and ask them to wear it for you because you love them.   Since 88 percent of those who drown are men, a life jacket is the perfect gift for Father’s Day. 

There are no more good excuses for not wearing a life jacket and it can be an overwhelming tragedy to have someone that you love die, especially if they could have done something as simple as wear a life jacket.  If you love someone tell them to wear a life jacket.