Your Clothes Can Save Your Life

17 Dec 2018
2018-19 - Boating Safety - Education - Life Jacket - Life Jacket Program - Tips
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Your Clothes Can Save Your Life

Falling overboard can be scary. Although the best advice is to wear your life jacket at all times, we all know that it isn’t always done. If you find yourself overboard with no life jacket in sight, you do have other options which can work in a true emergency. Here are 5 tips from the Sea Tow Foundation of ways that your clothes can save your life.

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  1. A piece of clothing can be used to reach out to a person in the water to pull him back onto the boat. Reaching out to a person is the first step in the “reach, throw, row, but don’t go” steps for rescuing someone in the water.

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  1. Keep your clothes on to conserve body heat. Obviously, this depends on the temperature of the air and water where you are boating as well as the type of clothing that you are wearing. However, a shirt can act like a wetsuit top and help you trap heat inside against your core. Clothing can also block the harmful sun’s rays and prevent painful sunburn.

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  1. Use your clothes to help your float. Take off your pants and tie the legs together using an overhand knot. To fill them with air, lift them over your head behind you and quickly bring your arms and the pants forward toward the water. They will fill with air and can be used as a buoy or float aid. Jeans are especially good, but it will work with other fabrics as well.

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  1. Take off your shoes. It is difficult to tread water and stay afloat with weights strapped to your feet. If your shoes float, you can put them under your armpits to help with flotation. If they are heavy, they may sink, but it is better to lose a pair of shoes than your life.

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  1. If you can find something floating in the water like a cooler or a piece of debris, you can climb onto it and use your clothing items as a paddle or sail to help propel you along in the water.

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Practicing these techniques in a pool is a good idea before going out on a boat. And, again, the best advice is to always wear your life jacket. Having one on onboard is required, but getting to it and putting it on with little to no notice can be impossible. And with more comfortable life jackets on the market, there is no excuse not to wear one every time you on on or around water. If you need to borrow a life jacket for your boating trip, you can find a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station near you at http://www.boatingsafety.com/map/.

 

Written by  Gail Kulp

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