Monday, March 30, 2015


I used to be the guy that had a life jacket or PFD, but scoffed at the notion I had to wear it all the time. "I'm responsible, safe, in shallow water" were the kind of things I would say when asked about it. I felt it was in the way and not neccesary.  But over the years I have seen so much tragedy that could have been prevented by simply putting on a PFD that I have completely changed my tune.

Below is what Arkansas law requires:

PFD Laws for Canoes, Kayaks and Inner Tubes on Arkansas Waterways

Every vessel must have one type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device for each person on board. All life vests must be:
  • United States Coast Guard-approved,
  • in good and serviceable condition, and
  • of proper size
As kayak fishing/paddling season gets into full swing lets all take it a step further than the law requires. Don't just have it on board, put it on!

It does not work if you don't wear it!

Quick Facts:

A lifejacket has to be worn to work

A lifejacket is like a seatbelt or a helmet: it is too late to get it on when the accident is happening.

The critical moments are when you first hit the water; if you are not wearing your lifejacket there was not much point in bringing it.

A lifejacket is extremely difficult to put on in the water even with practice.

A lifejacket is one of the first things to drift away (usually along with the boat) and also one of the first things found by search and recovery personnel (usually far from where the body lies submerged.)

PFDs work, but only if you wear them!

Why would'nt a person wear it?

Despite the obvious dangers, a lot of people don’t wear a lifejacket. When asked about their behavior and attitudes about lifejackets in surveys many people insist that they are safe and responsible folks and “of course” they wear a lifejacket.. Unfortunately this is never born out in observed wear studies where usually 15% is the highest score that can be counted. There are usually more pets wearing lifejackets than children and even fewer adults setting a good example by wearing theirs.

10 reasons why you should always wear a life jacket, taken from

1. Reduces panic. If it’s on, you don’t have to waste precious moments looking for it and putting it on in an emergency. Always consider you have less than 2 minutes to action.
2. Keeps your head above water even if you’re unconscious.
3. Makes you more visible in the water.
4. Protects your body.
5. Reduces the risk of hypothermia.
6. Helps prevent exhaustion from treading water.
7. It makes it easier for rescuers to pluck you from the water.
8. It will accommodate a PLB, whistle etc for better chances of survival.
9. Sets an example to others and sends the safety message out loud and clear – especially to children.
10. It may just save your life one day.

Check out the wear it campaign -

The bottom line is life jackets save lives, I hope everyone catches their personal best fish in 2015. But above all stay safe out there so you can get home to brag about it, WEAR YOUR PFD!

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