Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Mr. Richard Jepsen, US SAILING
In the early 1980s, the United States Yacht Racing Union (now US SAILING) began a program of youth training and studied the statistics on the risks of boating.
It took seriously the statistical findings that pointed to enhanced safety for wearers of life jackets who found themselves unexpectedly in the water. As a result, the organization decided to start training youth to wear life jackets as part of sailing right from their first time away from the dock.
Put It On—US SAILING’s training program guidelines requires students, instructors, and instructor trainers to wear life jackets while aboard all boats while underway or on a mooring.
The common theme at US SAILING is that promoting life jacket wear from the beginning of an individual’s boating career creates better “buy-in” and dramatically increases the likelihood he or she will wear a life jacket while boating.
The Hanson Rescue Medal—the organization also maintains statistics on person-in-water rescue attempts and funds a rescue award called the Hanson Rescue Medal to encourage boaters to report rescue attempts in detail to help gather data on real-life incidents.
Not surprisingly, a brief perusal shows that successfully rescued sailors almost always were wearing a life jacket.
Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/fall2010.
Subscribe online at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/subscribe.asp.
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