Friday, April 26, 2013

Lifejackets save lives

Amazing story floating around teh intertubes this week about a brother and sister who were fishing on a boat that sank and happily lived to tell the tale. The headlines call it a miracle and they were really lucky -- but some of their luck was that they'd chosen a boat where the captain had lifejackets on hand and accessible in case of emergency, and then they also made their own luck by doing a mind-blowing job of staying calm. Lifejackets save lives. So does not panicking. Read all about it!

Oh, and as long as I'm talking boating safety - don't forget that here in the northeast, the air's warming up but the water's still cold. Lovely time of year to start the boating season but also potentially treacherous - if you're going to go, there's stuff you should know. I've got a bunch of favorite cold-water safety sites over in the "Off-Season/Cold Water Boating links" in the sidebar to the right that are all good reading (although the last one is actually mine, something I wrote once when a friend who's an actual reporter saw an opportunity to get some cold-water safety info in the press - we jumped at it and it worked).  

And don't forget, if you are out in New York State waters in ANY recreational craft of 21 feet or less here in New York, state law requires that you wear a lifejacket up through May 1st. It's a good law, too - nobody ever plans to fall in, but if they do at this time of year, having that lifejacket on could very well make the difference between a funny story and a sad one. Let's go with funny.


Pandabonium said...

I learned all about life jackets before piloting a single engine plane carrying my family between islands in Hawaii. I've had friends who are alive today thanks to a PFD.

'Wouldn't think of being on or over water without them - anywhere.

Nancy & Dennis Friedman said...

I think that the story also relates to fortuitously warm water and possibly to poor oversight of boating down there

bonnie said...

Well, yes, I did mention that they had good luck (that would include warm water, no hungry sharks, finding a spot to land without getting hurt) and then of course they also had a big chunk of bad luck (boat sank). I think that the fact that there were lifejackets on hand can almost certainly be credited for tipping the balance to the good. Hypothermia still sets in in warm water, it just takes longer, and 14 hours is a terribly long time to swim without some flotation if you don't happen to be a trained open-water long-distance swimmer (and the boat crew was in the water for 23 hours).

Keep in mind, too, I'm a Northeastern boater drawing a fairly universal safety point from an amazing story. "Always make sure the water is warm when your boat sinks" isn't very practical advice around here. "Wear your lifejacket" is!

bonnie said...

y'know, come to think of it, I wish "always make sure the water is warm..." was an option. When I was a kid in Hawaii, "cold water" was...oh, maybe you don't want to go snorkeling for quite as long before you retreat to sun yourself on the beach. Those were the days.