Life-saving holiday gift for boaters
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Media contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has
a suggestion for anyone shopping for a boater this holiday. A new,
comfortable life jacket makes an ideal gift, and it could save
"A lot of people don't wear life jackets because they feel
they're uncomfortable," said Capt. Tom Shipp of the FWC's Boating
and Waterways Section. "However, with newer models, such as belt
packs or suspenders, you hardly feel them. Replacing an old, bulky
life jacket with a newer model makes a great gift."
Belt-pack and suspender life jackets are inflatable. Some
inflate automatically when a person falls into the water, while
others inflate after the wearer pulls a cord. Prices of the
belt-pack and suspender life jackets start at approximately
"Frequently, a life jacket can save a life during a boating
accident," Shipp said.
One of the main responsibilities for FWC officers is helping
residents and visitors boat safely. They often check boaters for
adherence to safety regulations and educate them about safe boating
practices. Unfortunately, at other times, FWC officers are called
to the scene of boating accidents.
"Many people don't expect to need a life jacket, particularly if
they feel they are good swimmers," Shipp said. "However, when
boating accidents happen, you may not be able to rely on your
Many of the boating accidents the FWC investigates involve
drowning deaths. Last year, there were 79 boating fatalities - 49
of them by drowning. The FWC confirms that life jackets may have
saved those lives and recommends boaters wear one at all times on
Bottom line: If you fall overboard with a life jacket on, your
chances of survival are greatly enhanced.
This holiday season, the gift of a life jacket could be a gift
boating safety information, visit MyFWC.com/Boating or call