As we enter the busy summer boating season, we want to remind our readers
about the importance of always taking the proper safety precautions, which
includes wearing a life jacket.
Nearly 20 percent of all California boating accidents occur in the month
of July. In most cases, the accidents are preventable. The top causes
of boat accidents in 2015 were operator inattention, operator inexperience,
When accidents do occur, wearing a life jacket can be the difference between
life and death, particularly if the boat capsizes or the victim falls
overboard. Of the boating fatalities that occurred from 2011-2015, more
than half of the victims drowned. Of those, 79 percent were not wearing
a life jacket.
In many cases, wearing a life jacket is legally required. Under California
law, every child under 13 years of age on a moving recreational vessel
of any length must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket in serviceable
condition and of a type and size appropriate for the conditions and the
activity. The law does not apply to children under 13 years of age who
are on a sailboat and are restrained by a harness tethered to the sailboat;
in an enclosed cabin; or on a vessel engaged in an emergency rescue situation.
For adults, the U. S. Coast Guard requires recreational vessels to have
a wearable life jacket for each person aboard. They must be:
- U. S. Coast Guard approved
- The proper size for the intended wearer
- In good and serviceable condition
- Readily accessible
In addition, a Coast Guard-approved life jacket must be worn by everyone
on a personal watercraft and everyone being towed behind a vessel, i.e.
tubing, waterskiing, or wakeboarding.
While life jackets were once cumbersome and uncomfortable, technology has
come a long way. Modern life jackets are generally much less restrictive
and are available in specific styles that are geared toward the type of
water activity, including fishing, personal watercraft riding, cold weather/hunting,
If you or someone you care about has suffered serious injury in a California
boating accident, don’t hesitate to contact
a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free
consultation. After a serious accident, we can advocate on your behalf
to help hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and seek
the compensation you deserve.