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Safety & Life Jackets: What Every Boater Should Know

Anyone who has ever been boating knows how much fun it can be. The wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the smell of the sea air are some of the best feelings for boating enthusiasts. However, safety on the water is of the utmost importance and that’s where life jackets come into play. Statistics show that among the 2010 boating fatalities, 67% were the result of drowning, and of that segment, 84% were not wearing life jackets.

When you think of a life jacket, you likely picture a bright orange horse collar that is not only an eyesore but bulky and uncomfortable. Fortunately, those clumsy life jackets are a thing of the past. Today, technologically advanced life jackets are available for boaters of all ages and are infinitely less restrictive and more convenient. As a leading boat brokerage that buys and sells used boats in San Diego, we encourage that all boaters are familiar with the basic boating safety and life jacket rules to ensure a fun and safe day on the water with their friends and family.

If you have a boat that is 16 feet long or less, each person onboard must have a Coast Guard approved, properly fitting life jacket available for them to wear. It is your responsibility as a boat owner to provide these life jackets and make sure that they are easily accessible for everyone onboard, and that all passengers are made aware of where the lifejackets are located. After all, life jackets are of no use if nobody knows where they’re stowed.

California Law also requires that boats longer than 16 feet have one Type IV device, like a horseshoe buoy, cushion or ring that can be thrown. This device is required in addition to the previously mentioned passenger life jackets, and must also be easily accessible at all times when on the water.

If you get to the marina and realize that you short on life jackets, the California Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is making them available to the public at stations from San Diego up the coast to West Sacramento and everywhere in between. All you need to do is contact the station nearest you for details and availability.

If you are new to boating or know someone who has recently purchased a used boat in San Diego, it is important to be up to date on the safety regulations outlined by the state of California. Whether for equipment and personal flotation devices or best fueling practices, there comes a lot of responsibility with boat ownership.