Life Jackets - They're Not Just for Kids by:Frank McGoldrick
About twelve years ago, my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Maui. Maui was beautiful and we had a blast touring the island. During our trip, we chartered a sailing cruise and tried snorkeling for the first time. The cruise operator gave us the option of using a life jacket to snorkel, but the majority of us (including me) chose to snorkel without a life jacket. At first I was a little freaked out when I jumped in the water - I thought I was going to have to tread water the whole time. But after I relaxed, I realized I could float pretty easily in the salt water. Plus, we were snorkeling in a protected reef and the water was pretty calm. We loved it. After hours of snorkeling we were hooked. We were ready for our next snorkeling adventure.
The following day my wife and I were anxious to try snorkeling again. While walking on the beach, we found a vendor who was renting snorkeling gear. Again, we had the option of renting a life jacket, but we passed. We were only planning on snorkeling on the beach in front of our hotel. We weren't planning on swimming out very far so we felt we were pretty safe.
We started snorkeling and it was great. But we weren't seeing many fish so we decided to go out a little further. All of a sudden we realized something was wrong. My wife stuck her head out of the water and saw that we were being pulled out to the channel by the riptide. We were already 50 yards from the beach and we were getting farther and farther from land. My wife started swimming back to the beach but I wasn't that good of a swimmer and started to freak out. Despite all of my swimming, I wasn't getting anywhere. The riptide was too strong. Fortunately I saw a rock jetty about 25 yards to my left so I decided to make a run for it. After about ten minutes of hard swimming I made it to the jetty and was able to pull myself out of the ocean.
I think back to that date and I realize I was lucky. If that jetty hadn't been there, my wife would have been a widow. Or, if I had worn a life jacket, I would have had a better chance to be rescued. I think the problem sometimes is that we think wearing a life jacket isn't cool. But we have to realize that water safety is more important than being cool. We think life jackets are just for kids, but they are for adults, too. Plus, it makes sense to set an example for our children. We now have two boys and we feel it is important to show them that wearing a life jacket is the right thing to do. Just like wearing a safety belt in a car or a biking helmet, life jackets shouldn't be "just for kids". They are for everyone.
If you want more information on life jackets there are a couple of great websites out there. The first is the US Coast Guard boating safety website or USCGBoating.org. This site will help you chose the correct life jacket for your boating, fishing, sailing or kayaking trip. Also, another site is the National Safe Boating Council and its website, SafeBoatingCouncil.org. This site also can give you tips about recreation boat education and safety.
About the author
Frank McGoldrick is a free lance writer who loves the outdoors. Looking for more information about life jackets, brands and styles? Find sales on Life Jackets and Life Vests at LifeJacketSale.com. We post deals from your favorite online Boating, Kayaking and Fishing stores.