Before you head into the ocean for a boat ride or an adventure on a jet ski or kayak, you must be certain you are wearing a size-appropriate life jacket. After all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 4,000 Americans die in unintentional drowning accidents every single year.
Your ability to survive in the open water may depend on the integrity of your life jacket. Even though an outfitter may give you a jacket to wear, you should be certain your life vest is in excellent shape. You also should be sure the life jacket has not expired.
Life jackets have expiration dates
Like most other pieces of equipment, life jackets have expiration dates. This is because they tend to degrade over time. Before you put on a life jacket, you should look at its tag to be certain the expiration date has not passed. Remember, though, saltwater, moist air, sunscreen and the sun can cause life jackets to fall into disrepair long before their expiration dates arrive.
The outfitter should be responsible
Before sending you out into the ocean, the outfitter should equip you with life-preserving gear. The outfitter also should regularly inspect life jackets and other pieces of protective gear for visible signs of damage. If there are any, the outfitter should give you a different life jacket to wear or tell you to remain on the shore.
By wearing a high-quality and unexpired life jacket, you diminish your chances of drowning or suffering a catastrophic injury considerably. Ultimately, though, if your life jacket fails to do its job, you may have grounds to pursue significant financial compensation from the outfitter or even the life jacket’s manufacturer.