Life Jackets Save Lives – Wear It!

HY Family Photo 366KB_ 2014
You know it's important to wear a seat belt while in a car or a helmet while riding your bike or motorcycle. Did you know it's just as important to wear a life jacket while boating? It is! Life jackets can save your life and the ones you love. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning is the leading cause of death in nearly 3/4 of boating related fatalities and 84% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

Every parent wants to make sure his/her family is as safe as possible, especially on the water. Although the state only requires children to wear a life jacket, adults are encouraged to wear one. Adults set a good example for children by wearing their life jackets.

Life jacket wear doesn’t only apply to children – anyone can drown regardless of age and swimming capabilities.
There is basic information about life jackets that is important to know.

  1. Make sure you know the federal and state laws in addition to your local ordinances. 
  2. Understand there are different types of life jackets and the most appropriate one to wear depends on your location and water activity.
  3. Learn how to properly fit life jackets for you and your family.
  4. Know where to find an extra life jacket if you find you don't have enough life jackets for everyone, there are free loaner stations throughout the state.
  5. Learn about the national WearIt campaign, and pledge to always wear your life jacket while on the water.
  1. Life Jacket Laws
  2. Types of Life Jackets
  3. Properly Fitting a Life Jacket
  4. Life Jacket Loaner Stations

State law requires all vessels (including canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards) must have at least one properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved life jacket (Personal Flotation Device) for each person on the boat. In addition to that requirement, one:

  • USCG - approved Type IV (throwable) flotation device must on board vessels 16 feet or longer. Canoes and kayaks are exempt from this requirement. 
  • Children 12 years old and younger must wear a USCG approved life jacket at all times when underway in a vessel less than 19 feet in length, unless in a fully enclosed area. 
  • Each person on board a personal watercraft (PWC) and anyone being towed behind a boat must wear a USCG approved life jacket.  
Contact your local police/sheriff's department or home owner's association to find out if there's additional ordinances. 

If you will be in federal waterways, know the USCG life jacket laws that may apply.

WearIt! World Record Day

On Saturday, May 20, 2017, people in cities around the world will participate in the Wear It! Life Jacket campaign to set a world record for the most life jackets worn. 

The goal of Wear It! is to promote how comfortable and versatile life jackets are while educating the public about safe boating. The events provide a fun opportunity for people to learn more about life jackets, try them on, and to learn that it's important to wear a properly fitted one. 
The key to making Wear It! a success this year is to have individuals and organizations host events. Whether it is a whole school assembly or just a couple of friends getting together at a marina, every event counts toward the world record.

Host a life jacket awareness event and help Washington beat the Wear It! Campaign World Record!

  1. How It Works
  2. FAQs
People from across the state are signing up to promote life jacket wear, drowning prevention, and boating and water safety through this fun and media friendly event.

Follow these three easy steps to help us reach our goal of over 15,000 life jackets worn on May 21, 2016 - WearIt! Washington Day:

  1. Register your event: Do you have what it takes to host an event? Check out our FAQ's to learn more! Sign up below with our easy to use online form and a boating team member will send you our WearIt! event kit.
  2. Plan your event: Our goal is to help you plan a successful WearIt! event. Your group will be assigned a boating safety expert to assist you with every step of the process. Most events are easy to plan and take nothing more than a simple communication plan.
  3. Host your event: This is the fun part. Remember, to be a valid world record event - every person must have a picture of them wearing their life jacket as well as filling out a sign-up sheet.