Pete Zimosky – Idaho Statesman : Edition Date: 05/27/07 – It’s mind-boggling to me that many boaters don’t wear life jackets.

Take a look at some recent incidents.
A boat capsized at the mouth of the Columbia River earlier this month and one angler ended up missing. Two others were rescued. None were wearing life jackets while in a boat at the mouth of the Columbia River, one of the most dangerous areas in the Northwest.
We’ve had two drownings on the Snake River this spring as a result of a boating accident. The victims were not wearing life jackets.
A 17-year-old boy drowned while canoeing May 19 on Hayden Lake in North Idaho. He was not wearing a life jacket.
I’ve seen rafters on the Main Payette River this spring not wearing life jackets.
Two canoeists were given tickets for not carrying life jackets as they recovered a suicide victim’s body from the Snake River this spring. The citations were dismissed but the question remains: Where were the life jackets?
The first thing most river runners grab when they are going out on a rescue is their life jackets, even in the frenzy of an emergency.
Not wearing a life jacket in a boat is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute.
About 800 people die each year in boating accidents nationally, and nine out of 10 are not wearing a life jacket.
Last year in Idaho, four out of the five drowning victims involved in boating accidents, were not wearing life jackets.
It seems as though most of the boaters and tubers who float the Boise River through town during the summer are not wearing life jackets.
A lot of boaters on Idaho’s lakes and reservoirs don’t wear life jackets. Oh sure, they are required by law to have them on board for each passenger, but they don’t have to wear them.
Idaho has a youth life jacket law, which requires children 14 and younger riding in boats 19 feet or less in length to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
What about adults? What’s the deal with not wearing one? I don’t understand it. Today’s life jackets are comfortable. Most of them have all sorts of adjustments to make them easy to wear.
Life jackets are made specifically for women and children.
It just doesn’t make any sense, especially when capsizing and falling overboard account for 70 percent of boating fatalities nationally.
You never know when it’s going to happen.
The typical boating accident involves a small, open boat on inland water, during daylight hours when weather and visibility are good, the winds are light, and the water is calm, according to boating-safety Web sites.
You may think you’re a good swimmer and don’t have to wear a life vest, but Idaho’s waters are cold. Cold water saps energy, and that leads to drowning.
Boating-safety experts say that generally, an average-sized person wearing light clothing and a life jacket may survive up to 2: to 3 hours in 50-degree water by remaining still. Life jackets help protect against hypothermia, the lowering of body temperature to dangerous levels, which leaves a victim helpless.
Here’s the 50/50/50 rule: Someone in 50-degree water for 50 minutes has a 50 percent better chance of survival if a life jacket is being worn.
It doesn’t make any sense getting in a boat without one.

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Not wearing a life jacket makes no sense