Official Reminds People About Importance of Wearing Life Jacket - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Official Reminds People About Importance of Wearing Life Jacket in Water

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Now that it's getting warmer, more people are starting to bring out their toys for water sports.

They're stocking up their boats, rafts and kayaks before they hit the water, and on Sunday, the National Safe Boating Council was at Cabela's to remind people on why it's so important to always wear a life jacket.

"Statistically, on the average, over the last decade, more than 700 people die in boating accidents," said Fred Messmann, the Deputy Director of the National Safe Boating Council. "Of those, close to 500 of those people every year would still be alive if they simply had their life jacket on."

Messmann says it's the beginning of National Safe Boating Week, going on through the Friday before Memorial Day.

"This is typically when most people come out and start boating," he said. "So, this is an opportune time for us to educate people and keep them safe on the water."

So, he was at Cabela's in Verdi to show people how to get fitted for the proper life jacket, including Ralph and Lois Caron, a couple from Yuma, Arizona. They're heading up to Oregon to do some river rafting.

"He educated me more on these new life jackets they have out," Ralph said. "Not compared to the old horse collar that we had before."

As for picking a life jacket, Messmann says to pick one that's snug to your body. Messmann says he also sees many people who put their jackets on, but don't buckle or zip them up, which can be very dangerous.

"That doesn't really do you a whole lot of good because if you suddenly go into the water, the water is just going to wash it right off of you."

For children, Messmann says it's important to not buy a bigger life jacket that they will grow into because it can slip off their bodies in the water. He says there's an easy way to tell if it is too big.

"You can buckle up the life jacket and have them raise their hands above their head, and then grab the tops of the life jacket and try to lift them off their feet. If the life jacket slips off, then it doesn't fit that child."

Messmann also says to attach a whistle to your life jacket, so that if you do fall in, it's easily accessible to use to call out for help.

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