Recently a friend was asking me how to choose quality fishing kayak for his son. I shared my thoughts on what qualities he should be looking for and what size would be good for his kid. After giving him a brief tutorial I took a long deliberate pause. I made it extra long for dramatic effect. I locked eyes with him to stress the importance of what he was about to hear.
"But really the two most important things are to get your boy a well fitted life jacket and for him to wear it". I meant this sincerely. The most important advice I have ever given and ever will give to a new boater is to wear a life jacket.
It can save your life. A few years back the industry renamed this piece of equipment as a Personal Flotation Device or PFD. I still purposefully call it a Life Jacket. It is a reminder of the grave risk you take when not wearing it.
People who do not wear life jackets die. The US Coast Guard keeps track of boating fatalities. The most recent year of available data 633 people died on our nation's waterways. Guess what? 84% of those were NOT wearing a life jacket. That is a huge percentage!
Notice the stat references people WEARING the life jacket. Owning a life jacket, having a life jacket in the car, storing the life jacket at the bottom of your canoe will NOT save you. It needs to be worn.
Get a quality, stylish, well fitted life jacket that you feel comfortable in. Forget the cheap ugly orange flappy kind from when we were kids. We have attractive, high quality, stylish, comfortable designs now.
As always if you have questions about life jackets, brands, sizing, different styles or just ideas about the trips shoot me a message here w the contact form or Instagram @bd_markey
Hope to see you on the river,