Safety and Weather Life Jacket Safety: A Guide 06/30/20 It’s not the most fashionable item to wear on the water, but a life jacket could very well save your life. In 2018 alone, a staggering 84 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket. Save yourself from being a statistic and wear a life jacket when you're seeking out aquatic adventures. The American Red Cross recommends the following guidelines for when to wear a life jacket — and the steps to take to wear it correctly. When to Wear a Life Jacket Everyone should wear a life jacket in the following scenarios: In the ocean or on open water When boating, water skiing or any water-based sport Near cold water or ice In addition, small children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets any time they’re near water, including pools and waterparks. How to Wear a Life Jacket Choose the right life jacket for your activity. Life jackets come in all types of designs and are made differently based on their intended use. Make sure the jacket is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Look for the stamp on the jacket. Check the label for weight and size limits, and make sure it fits the person using it. Test the straps and buckles to make sure they all work properly. If a jacket has torn fabric or loose straps you can’t tighten, throw it out. Practice swimming in the jacket in a safe area before wearing it for more adventurous activities. For more information, the U.S. Coast Guard has a very detailed life jacket safety page on their website. From that page, you can also print a brochure on how to choose the right life jacket, plus download the official Boating Safety app of the USCG. Boating safety is very important, so if there’s ever a question of whether you should wear a life jacket, play it safe and put it on. As the saying goes, the best time to wear a life jacket is before it’s needed. Follow this pearl of wisdom for your safety as well as those around you whenever water is part of your plans. You can get extra peace of mind while on the water by protecting your watercraft — and protecting yourself from potential lawsuits and medical payments — with a watercraft insurance policy from Alfa®. Contact your local Alfa agent to learn about your coverage options today.