At what age do you have to wear a life jacket? BoatUS Foundation stated that children at and under the age of thirteen (13) have to wear personal flotation device or life jackets. While laws vary from each state, the Coast Guard interim rule requires that the ages stated wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
Despite the age requirement, everyone is encouraged to wear a life jacket when participating in any water activities. According to the World Health Organization, drowning is to blame for over 7% of the world’s injury-related deaths. It is also the third leading cause of unintentional injury resulting in death.
The National Safety Council reports that drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death through the age of fifteen.
Life Jacket Guide
Now that you know the age requirement for a life jacket, it is time to know the types of life jackets and choose one.
There are three types of life jackets:
- Inherently Buoyant – an inherently buoyant life jacket is primarily made of foam. It is designed to cater to both swimmers and non-swimmers. It is also available for all sizes.
- Inflatable – inflatable life jackets are only available for swimming adults and should not be used by non-swimmers.
- Hybrid – a hybrid is a foam and inflation combination life jacket that is generally recommended for swimmers and non-swimmers—recommended for certain activities.
The US Coast Guard Requires Life Jackets to be
- Adequate size for the wearer
- The right type of life jacket for the activity
- In good and serviceable condition
- Coast Guard approved carriage requirements.
How to choose the right Life Jacket?
To choose the right life jacket, you must first think of the water activity you will partake in. Then, assess your swimming skills so you can choose which life jacket is right for you. After that, check the area’s rules and regulations on life jackets. This is a vital step if you are going out of state or into a national park.
When you purchase your life jacket, choose the right fit. When testing the fit of your life jacket, fasten, and secure all the straps. Then, raise your arms. If your vest rides up, then it is not the right size. Choose a bright-colored life jacket; this will up your chances of being found. The National Park Service advises that you attach a whistle and emergency light. Rescuers will be able to find you faster if you catch their attention.
Being close and in the water is fun. But just as always, it is always better to take precautions whenever doing something.