Love life, wear a life jacket!
This year’s water safety campaign “Love life, wear a life jacket!” concentrates on the importance of wearing a life jacket while on a boat or other vessels. 18 people have drowned in boating accidents over the last two years, so the importance of wearing a life jacket is not to be underestimated.
The main message of the campaign is “Love life, wear a life jacket!” with which the Rescue Board reminds the public that life jackets should always be worn while on a boat, regardless of age, gender or swimming skills. Wearing a life jacket while on a boat should as natural as wearing a seat belt while in a car.
Water accidents usually happen unexpectedly and leave no time to put on a life jacket. Therefore it is important that the life jacket be put on before stepping into a boat. When an accident has happened then a life jacket is almost impossible to put on while already in the water. But only a life jacket that’s actually worn can save lives.
When wearing a life jacket, a person’s ability to swim is not relevant. Many people who are good swimmer may presume they don’t need a life jacket. Unfortunately, tragic accidents do happen to good swimmers as well. Other variables become important, such as cold water, injury, a fast flow, health problems or other unforeseen circumstances. Being a good swimmer gives no advantage in these cases.
Studies also show that alongside alcohol, not using rescue equipment is one of the main reasons for tragic water accidents. Although 87% of Estonians and 82% of non-Estonians agree that a life jacket should always be worn in a boat, the actual behavior paints a rather different picture. Only 66% of respondents who ride boats admitted to always wearing a life jacket.
In 2014, 12 people drowned in boating accidents in Estonia, only one of whom had a life jacket on: Last year there were 6 drownings with also only one victim wearing a life jacket. Every victim might have survived if they were wearing a life jacket.