If you like boating, wearing a life jacket is essential. Here, we discuss Washington’s law regarding wearing a life jacket and safety tips you should follow.

Life Jacket Safety Rules to Follow When Boating to Avoid a Tragic Accident

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life jackets protect boatersWhile boating can be a fun recreational activity, it can turn into a tragic event if someone is seriously injured or drowns in a boating accident. When the incident could have been prevented, it is even more heartbreaking. One way to avoid injury when on a boat is to wear life jackets. Here, we discuss the law on life jackets in Washington and safety tips to keep you safe.

What Is the Law Regarding Life Jackets in the State of Washington?

Recognizing the importance of life jackets, the State of Washington has a law regarding life jacket use on boats. It specifically provides that:

  • No person is allowed to operate a boat without a life jacket on board for each person on the vessel.
  • All life jackets must be a serviceable condition, the appropriate size, and readily accessible.
  • Children under 12 years old who are on boats that are less than 19 feet in length are required to wear life jackets that meet or exceed U.S. Coast Guard standards

Safety Tips Regarding Life Jackets That You Should Follow

It cannot be stressed enough that life jackets save lives. Here are important safety tips you should follow any time you or a family member gets on any boat:

  • Before going out on a boat, be certain that every occupant has a life jacket. Inspect all life jackets to be certain that they have no tears or rips and are in good condition.
  • Insist occupants wear a life jacket anytime they are in the boat no matter how strong a swimmer they are.
  • Be certain the life jacket fits properly given the person’s weight and height and that everyone knows how to properly secure it.
  • Be certain to wear a life jacket that is appropriate for the boating that you are doing. For example, you may need a different type of life jacket if you will be on the ocean versus a calm river or lake.
  • Test the buoyancy of life jackets in shallow water by wearing it and tilting your head back to see if the life jacket keeps your head above water.
  • Store your life jacket in a dry location with good ventilation.
  • Avoid using harsh detergents to clean your life jacket as it could weaken the material.

Even if you follow these safety rules, a negligent boat operator could cause you or a family member to suffer injuries in a boating accident. Our experienced boating accident attorneys are here to help. Fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today.

Category: Boat and Watercraft Accidents


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