Personal Watercraft Safety Course

Safety Equipment Safety equipment is essential to the proper operation of any boat or vessel, includ- ing PWCs. Some safety equipment is required by law, while other equipment is recommended. The most important piece of equipment for personal safety is the life jacket. The life jacket must be the correct type, be the correct fit and be well-maintained. Life Jackets Most boating fatalities occur as a result of drowning and could be prevented by wearing a life jacket. Modern life jackets are colorful, comfortable and easy to wear. Wearing a life jacket is important, regardless of your swimming ability or your boating experience. Each person on board a PWC must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket for PWC use. A life jacket should provide enough buoyancy to keep you afloat until help comes. Therefore: „ „ Check that the life jacket is a U.S. Coast Guard-approved for PWC use on the label. „ „ Check that the life jacket is appropriate for your weight and chest size. „ „ Check that it is properly fitted and fully clipped or zipped up. To make sure that you have selected the correct life jacket for yourself: „ „ Check for a snug fit. Adjust straps and buckles to ensure a proper fit that does not restrict breathing. If you lift a partner’s life jacket by the shoulders, the life jacket should not ride up to cover the wearer’s ears. If it does, readjust the straps and buckles, and if it still does not pass the lift test, try a different size. „ „ Check the buoyancy in safe water by relaxing your body and letting your head tilt back. The life jacket should keep your chin and mouth out of the water and allow you to breathe easily.


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