Big Bear Lake, CA, May 29, 2015 – The Big Bear Lake Flotilla Coast Guard Auxiliary is hosting a booth for the Life Jacket Trade-In being held at the Carol Morrison Public Boat Ramp (East Boat Ramp) from noon until 2PM on Saturday, May 30th. The Annual Life Jacket Trade-In is put on by the California Department of Boating and Waterways with free life jackets paid for by donors of major companies.
According to the USCG, “Nine out of ten drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of safety. 80% of drowning victims were not wearing life jackets when found. Most of the victims owned PFDs, but they died without them. A wearable PFD can save your life, if you wear it.”
Life jackets should no longer be used if not in serviceable condition. This would be a great opportunity to trade in any life jackets that are torn, damaged, deflated, rotted, or punctured. If in doubt if the life jacket is serviceable, please come to exchange it for a new one. Children should never wear life jackets that don’t fit them. Melissa Miranda, of CAL Boating and Waterways, cautioned, “Don’t get a life jacket for a child to ‘grow into.” It should fit the current weight of the child, not their age.”
Operators of canoes, kayaks, personal watercraft, and water skiers are required to always wear life jackets because of their risk of going into the water. Stand up paddle boarders must also have a life jacket on board, but much safer would be to wear a life jacket such as the fanny packs or regular life jackets.
With the shock of hitting cold water, weeds and high altitude causing problems for boaters and personal watercraft operators, having life jackets that fit, are in good condition and worn properly are really important on our lake. Boaters all need to know how to quickly find life jackets on their boats if needed since adults aren’t required by law to wear them. Any child under 13 is required to wear them with parents responsible to make sure they do. Incidents can happen when a child goes into the water and an adult without a life jacket jumps in to help them. So best plan is “Ready, Set, Wear it!”