Lifejackets are useless unless worn. It’s a simple lesson that applies to merchant mariners and fishermen. It’ a lesson still not getting across.
Britain’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency says that 86 maritime deaths between 2007 and 2010 may have been avoided if those involved had worn a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.
This is the latest finding of an expert panel which has been analysing maritime accidents since 2007. Recently the panel, consisting of members from the MCA, RNLI, RYA, MAIB1, lifejacket industry and Portsmouth University, looked at the 35 maritime deaths in 2010 where lifejacket wear may have been appropriate. They agreed that in 21 of those incidents a life might have been saved if a lifejacket or buoyancy aid had been worn.
Commercial fishermen, anglers and leisure sailors are at the top of the list of people who might have been saved had they been wearing a lifejacket. This year the panel also discussed a significant number of kayaking incidents.
Roly McKie for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency says: “I hope that this information will help to encourage more sea users to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. The figures show that lifejackets save lives, perhaps due to the campaigning that the MCA, RNLI, and the RYA have undertaken. As a result of this review, we are encouraging more commercial fishermen and other groups to wear personal floatation devices”.
Remember to take your lifejacket with you and to wear it. A lifejacket is useless unless worn. Use your lifejackets crotch straps and, if possible, choose a lifejacket that has a spray-hood, light and whistle. Remember to check your lifejackets regularly and make sure that they are functioning fully. The RNLI have some good advice about how to maintain your lifejacket on their website. Go to www.rnli.org.uk/seasafety.