University of Florida

Life Jacket Safety

Just because you consider yourself a good swimmer doesn't mean you shouldn't wear a life jacket. Unfortunately, many fatalities happen in Florida every year that could be prevented by correctly wearing a life jacket. Here is some life jacket advice that every swimmer, boater, and water-loving Floridian needs to know.

  • Yes, it's true—even good swimmers need to wear life jackets. If you're a great swimmer you can still be caught off guard if tossed in rough or freezing water, so always be prepared by wearing a life jacket.
  • Life jackets can help those who are thrown off-balance while fishing. If you are fishing while wearing heavy clothing, a life jacket can help you stay afloat if you fall into the water.
  • Many people participate in water activities during the summer, but just because it's hot outside doesn't mean you shouldn't put on a life jacket. There are now a variety of life jackets that are less bulky and more comfortable than traditional ones. Additionally, some inflatable life jackets are half the size of older life jackets.
  • Putting on a life jacket is a good first step, but do not wear just any life jacket. Make sure you are wearing the correct size. Remember that your jacket should be snug and life jackets made for adults should never be worn by a child.

Last, everyone needs to wear a life jacket—not just children. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, about one-half to two-thirds of Florida's boating fatalities are men over 30. Wearing a life jacket can save your life, and it can also serve as a good example by encouraging children to wear one as well.

Adapted and excerpted from:

 “Wear It Florida Campaign,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. (Accessed 07/2013).

Wearing Your Life Jacket,” Boating Safety Resource Center. (Accessed 07/2013).


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