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Personal Flotation Devices

More than 90% of boating-related deaths are from drowning and 80% of those drowning victims were not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).

Anytime anyone is boating, there is a chance of falling overboard.

Washington State Law (RCW 79A.60.160) requires PFDs for each person aboard a vessel operating on Washington State waters.  Each PFD should be in good condition, of an appropriate size and readily accessible.

A PFD is not considered readily accessible for children twelve years old and under unless the child wears it. Children must wear a PFD whenever the vessel is underway and the child is on an open deck or open cockpit of the vessel.

When buying a PFD, always check the labels to make sure it is U.S. Coast Guard approved.  Pick a lifejacket that fits you and fits the type of boating you will be doing.  For your PFD to work, it has to be kept in good condition.  Always air-dry your PFD thoroughly before stowing it.  Check it twice a year for mildew, leaks, insecure straps or hardened stuffing.

Lifejacket, life-vest, PFD or personal flotation device.  No matter what you call it, it won't work if you don't wear it!  Don't take chances, wear your PFD!

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Last Modified:   August 23, 2006

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