[OSMB-News] News Release
Ashley.Massey at state.or.us
Thu May 4 13:43:44 PDT 2006
For Immediate Release Date: Thursday, May 4, 2006
Facts About Personal Flotation Devices
Personal Flotation Device (PFD): A Real Lifesaver
* According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, nationally 676 boaters
died in 2004. Ninety percent of those who drowned were not wearing
* PFDs can also help protect against death due to cold-water
hypothermia, which is another major killer in boating accidents.
* There must be at least one properly fitting, U.S. Coast
Guard-approved PFD for each person onboard the boat, including persons
* Children 12 years of age and younger must wear a U.S. Coast
Guard-approved PFD at all times while on open deck or in the cockpit of
vessels that are underway. Non-swimmers should always wear PFDs.
* Each person onboard a personal watercraft must wear an approved
(Type I, II or III) for the water activity.
* PFDs should be readily accessible for use in case of an
emergency * not stowed in closed compartments or in the original
* Inflatable (Type V) PFDs are not approved for youth under 16
years of age or for high-impact sports such as water skiing or operating
Proper Fit and Maintenance
* Choose a PFD that fits and is appropriate for the type of
boating you will be doing.
A PFD that does not fit properly can be just as dangerous as not
wearing one at all. Check the label for restrictions and limitations on
its use and performance type.
* Most adults need an extra seven to 12 pounds of buoyancy to keep
their heads above water. Your weight, body fat, lung size, clothing and
water conditions are factors to be considered in determining how much
extra buoyancy you need.
* To test the proper fit for an adult, use the "touchdown test."
With the jacket on, raise your arms as though signaling a touchdown.
Look to your left and right and over your shoulders. If the chest part
of the PFD does not hit your chin, then the device most likely fits.
* A good test for children is to have them stand normally with
their arms at their sides. Grab the PFD at the shoulders and lift up
firmly. If the PFD moves above the mid-point of their ears, then the
device does not fit properly.
* Proper upkeep of your PFD is essential to keeping it in working
order. Always air-dry your PFD thoroughly before stowing it. Regularly
inspect the devices for mildew, leaks, hardened stuffing, or insecure
straps and buckles. Avoid contact with oil and grease, which causes PFDs
to deteriorate and lose buoyancy.
Ashley A. Massey
Public Affairs Specialist
Oregon State Marine Board
503-378-8587 ext. 82623
ashley.massey at state.or.us
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