Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why Should I bother wearing a PFD

I hear it all the time. Why should I bother wearing a PFD or Lifejacket? I don't perceive the danger. I am a good swimmer. I am going to be close to shore. They are uncomfortable. They don't look cool. There are a thousand reasons to not wear a PFD and they are all lousy. Here are a couple of reasons TO wear a PFD.

32 year old Ian Jones, boyfriend of Annie Lennox's daughter. Died on the hudson river when his tandem kayak overturned. She lived, he died. She was wearing PFD, he wasn't.

69 year old man. Paddled frequently. Sometimes he didn't wear a PFD, sometimes he did. This time he didn't and it cost him his life.

Two dead, after kayak flips in a river. PFD's were found, but they don't know if they were being worn at the time of the incident (if they were wearing them, they either weren't adjusted correctly, or not zipped/buckled.) 

You want a reason to wear your PFD? How about this. Two kayakers rescued in Oregon. They spent nine hours in the water, when the Coast Guard got them. The only reason they are alive is that they were wearing PFD's. None of the four fatalities that I listed above were even in the ocean, they were either lakes or rivers. 

I am the first one to admit, that our current society is very much  a "culture of fear". Where everyone is telling you, you can't do this, or you can't do that because it is unsafe. But this is a situation that I really think is an easy decision. You don't wear your seatbelt because you are a bad driver. You wear it because you are surrounded by bad drivers who do stupid things. In a kayak it is exactly the same. It isn't the threats you perceive, it is the things you can't imagine happening. That is why you should wear one. Wear one so you don't become a statistic. Wear your PFD.