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The importance of wearing life jackets

From: chuck
Sent on: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 1:11 PM

Hello paddlers,

Here are some good reasons to wear life jackets.

1)  They keep you from drowning.

2)  If you aren't wearing one, especially in cold water, and you go under, I'm not certain you can be       rescued.  I'm fairly certain you'll just die.  Turn the water on full cold in your shower tomorrow morning, and notice your rib cage spasm while you gasp for air.  Now imagine doing that underwater.

3)  If you do go for a swim in cold water, life jackets hold in an amazing amount of body heat, possibly helping avoid hypothermia.

4) Your life jacket has pockets that can carry some useful things-a whistle (think of it as mandatory), snacks, lights, cell phone or radio in waterproof bag, chemlight, etc.

5)  Your life jacket gives rescuers more contact points to grab you and haul you back into a boat.

6)  NOT wearing your lifejacket makes you look like you're ignorant or foolish.  In addition, it reflects that image on any group of which you may be a member, including this one. 

7)  Wearing life jackets is considered to be mandatory on meetup paddles.  For meetup members and their guests.

How to deal with those who don't want to wear their life jacket?  Just tell them, it's meetup policy.  If they refuse still, ask them which direction they're going, and then point out you will be going the other.  Yeah, it's that serious. 

I know this sounds kind of heavy, but I think it needs to be said. 

If you want to paddle flatwater in the summer without wearing your lifejacket, I don't blame you!  Just don't do it on a meetup paddle.

I'd love to see more dialogue from the members on this.

Also, I'll be holding another cold weather paddling seminar in January.

Chuck

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