As anglers, we all know we should be wearing life jackets when we go out. We also know that life jackets can be hot, uncomfortable and bulky. But quit complaining. Even the best swimmers among us could get conked on the head. Or suddenly pass out. Now the good folks at AZ Game and Fish make it easier to protect ourselves out on the water.
Last year, the Arizona Game and Fish Department life jacket exchange program was a resounding success, having traded out more than 300 old and tattered life jackets for new ones at area lakes.
Tattered is right. The hot and dry climate in Arizona is harsh on life jackets, making it very important to check them for wear and tear every season,” Josh Hoffman, Game and Fish boating safety education coordinator tells Today’s Havasu News. “And don’t forget, just because a life jacket fit last year there’s no guarantee it will fit next year.”
According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning was the reported cause of death in approximately 76 of recreational boating fatalities in 2015, and that nearly 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets, reports Today’s Havasu News.
To augment its boater safety efforts, Game and Fish has a life jacket loaner program. Currently there are 14 stations where a life jacket can be borrowed for the day including Windsor Beach and Cattail Cove State Park. The jackets are provided through U.S. Coast Guard grants and non-profit NGO funding.
All boats in Arizona must have a life jacket aboard for every passenger and those 12 years old and younger must wear a lift jacket at all times, as well as water enthusiasts being towed behind a boat or on personal watercraft. The AZGF loaner stations mean you have no excuse. Often the only thing that’s going to keep you or a guest from drowning is a life jacket.
Better safe than sorry. We want you coming back for years to come.
Learn more about Boating Rules & Safety on Lake Havasu at GoLakeHavasu.com