You never need a life jacket, until the moment you need it! Having a life jacket on at the moment you need it can be the difference between life and death.
Winds can whip up without warning. Residents of Westmoreland and King George County learned this over the last few weeks with the April 21 storm that left half the town of Colonial Beach virtually cut off by downed trees and power lines for over 24 hours. King George experienced a tornado on the morning of May 5 with winds in excess of 90 mph, resulting in overturned vehicles and power outages in the surrounding area.
Unexpected high winds on land can be devastating and life threatening however it takes much less wind on water to produce large white caps that can capsize a boat. This is one of the reasons that the Coast Guard is focusing their efforts on educating boaters of the necessity of wearing a life jacket at all times while boating.
“Life jackets can be the determining factor between LIFE and DEATH in many boating accidents.”
Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors has joined the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC), the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA.org) to declare May 20 -26 as Safe Boating Week emphasizing the need for safety training and the importance of wearing a life jacket at all times while boating.
Currently there are 3,732 boats registered in Westmoreland County, which does not count boating visitors who visit the area each summer. Boating safety begins long before the boat leaves the dock. USCG studies show that boaters who take a boating course are four to five times less likely to have a boating accident.
Coast Guard statistics show each year, on average, 700 people die in boating-related accidents and 80 percent of people who die in boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket.