Life Jackets Save Lives
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Life Jackets Save Lives

Nov 10, 2023

Contact: DNR Office of [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges all water enthusiasts to wear a life jacket any time you are on the water, because it could save your life.

It's National Safe Boating Week, and the DNR anticipates an increase in boating, paddling and water fun activities heading into Memorial Day weekend.

Before you cast off, perform a general boat check to make sure it's ready to launch. Look all other safety equipment is on board, lights are functional, registration is current, engine cut-off lanyard and plug are present – and don't forget to make sure you have one life jacket per person on board.

"When something goes wrong, it's too late to put a life jacket on if you aren't already wearing it," said Lt. Darren Kuhn, DNR Boating Law Administrator. "Wardens have responded to numerous drowning deaths only to find a life jacket stuffed inside a kayak or floating near the capsized canoe."

The department does not track all drownings – only those fatalities linked to the use of a recreational activity item, such as a boat, kayak or canoe. The DNR posts boating incident reports on its website.

Today's life jackets are more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style of the past. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting and are cooler in the warmer weather.

Follow the basic safety tips below and enjoy Wisconsin's great lakes and rivers with family and friends.

Be ready for the unexpected and always wear your life jacket. More boating safety tips are available on the DNR website.