Be Smart. Be Safe. Lifejackets are for Everyone. Education Program

FACT OR FICTION?
TEST YOUR LIFE JACKET KNOWLEGE


Read the questions and all the choices before selecting an answer. Choose the most complete, correct answer. Pick only one answer.

  1. What percentage of boating fatalities are caused by drowning?
    • 15%
    • 30%
    • 45%
    • 70%
  2. What type of boating accidents result in the most fatalities each year?
    • Capsizing and falling overboard
    • Collisions
    • Running aground
    • Swamping or flooding of boat
  3. 8 out of every 10 victims of boating related fatalities did not:
    • Have navigation lights on at night
    • Wear a life jacket
    • Yield right of way to an oncoming boat
    • Have life jackets on board
  4. What is a valid reason for not wearing a life jacket?
    • I’ve never been in an accident
    • I’m a good swimmer
    • I keep my life jackets within easy reach in case of an accident
    • I am not boating
  5. What are the most common conditions for boating accidents that result in a fatality?
    • Sudden storm
    • Sharks cruising around your boat
    • Off shore waters far from help
    • Calm, inland waters
  6. More than 75% of boating fatalities occur in boats under 21 feet:
    • True
    • False
  7. What group of boaters most often drown in a boating accident?
    • Inexperienced male boaters less than 21 years of age
    • Paddlers
    • Sportsmen (Anglers and Hunters)
    • Children
  8. Most drowning victims had a life jacket available and chose not to wear it:
    • True
    • False
  9. Federal law requires a US Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board a boat:
    • True
    • False
  10. If you fall overboard wearing an inflatable life jacket, it:
    • Will inflate automatically
    • Requires manual inflation by pulling a ripcord
    • May inflate automatically or require manual inflation depending on what type it is
    • May not work because inflatable life jackets are not reliable
  11. A sedentary person of the same weight as an athletic person usually requires more flotation (buoyancy) in a life jacket to keep his/her head above water.
    • True
    • False
  12. An inflatable life jacket is suitable for non-swimmers:
    • True
    • False
  13. Inflatable life jackets are not approved for children less than 16 years of age:
    • True
    • False
  14. Altering a life jacket to provide better fit does not affect its Coast Guard approval:
    • True
    • False
  15. Life jackets can lose buoyancy when used as a cushion or boat fender:
    • True
    • False
  16. What is an indication that your life jacket must be replaced?
    • It no longer fits you.
    • A buckle has torn off
    • The color is faded
    • All of the above
  17. It’s a good idea to buy a slightly larger life jacket for children to allow for growth:
    • True
    • False
  18. If you fall overboard into cold water, body movement is recommended to raise body temperature:
    • True
    • False
  19. Which of the following is TRUE about owning and wearing an inflatable life jacket?
    • You have to be able to blow it up
    • Everyone being towed behind a boat and onboard personal watercraft must wear one
    • It requires regular inspection and maintenance
    • It is required equipment on all sailboats
  20. Which of the following is TRUE about life jackets, or personal flotation devices (PFDs)?
    • A canoe only needs throwable PFDs on board
    • Life jackets must be orange in color
    • Everyone towed behind a boat and onboard personal watercraft must wear one
    • They must be stowed under the seats

TEST YOUR LIFE JACKET KNOWLEDGE

Answer Key

  1. What percentage of boating fatalities are caused by drowning?

    d) 70%

    70% of all boating deaths are the result of drowning. Most of these were considered preventable if the victims had been wearing life jackets.

  2. What types of boating accidents result in the most fatalities each year?

    a) Capsizing and falling overboard

    While collisions, loss of control, and other types of sensational boating accidents often capture the headlines, most boating fatalities occur under very ordinary circumstances in which a boater, suddenly, and UNEXPECTEDLY enters the water due to capsizing or swamping the boat, or simply losing their balance and falling overboard. UNEXPECTED means that there wasn’t time to react to grab and put on a life jacket.

  3. 8 out of every 10 victims of boating related fatalities did not:

    b) Wear a life jacket

    Nearly 85% of boating-related drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket . As many as 440 lives may be saved annually if boaters simply wore their life jackets.

  4. What is a valid reason for not wearing a life jacket?

    d) I am not boating

    The only valid reason to not wear a life jacket is when you are not boating. With the comfort, functionality and styles of today’s life jackets, and the knowledge that wearing a life jacket is the most important safety measure boaters can take, there really are no good reasons not to wear a life jacket. Being a good swimmer is most certainly not a good reason because of the possibility of being injured or disoriented during an incident which lands you in the water.

  5. What are the most common conditions for boating-related accidents that result in a fatality?

    d) Calm, inland waters

    Many people assume that the majority of boating accidents and fatalities occur offshore, in bad weather, at night, or in conditions with poor visibility. But in fact, 86% of all recreational boating deaths occur on lakes, rivers, ponds, streams and reservoirs, very close to shore. In addition, they most often occur during the daytime in sunny weather with less than six-inch seas.

  6. More than 75% of boating fatalities occur in boats under 21 feet:

    a) True

    Most boating-related drownings occur in small boats (21 feet and under) such as jonboats, bass boats, small pleasure craft, canoes and kayaks. Smaller boats are generally lighter weight and thus more sensitive to a shift in balance within the boat. Standing in these types of boats (for instance, while casting a fishing rod or hunting), leaning over the side to retrieve something, or moving suddenly can easily lead to a capsize, swamping or fall overboard. Most times the involved boats are not even moving.

  7. What group of boaters experiences the highest incidence of drowning?

    c) Sportsmen

    Hunters and anglers now make up approximately 30% of all recreational boating deaths, the largest of any boating segment. Paddlers, personal watercraft users and children are also high-risk boater segments. In broader demographic terms, boating fatalities most frequently involve males between the ages 21 and 50, with experience on the water.

  8. Most drowning victims had a life jacket available and chose not to wear it:

    a) True

    The fact that most drowning victims have a life jacket available (but unused) highlights the fallacy in thinking that you will be able to grab the lifejacket and put it on if something goes wrong. It’s like saying you’re going to buckle your seat belt before the car crashes. Seat belts – and life jackets – only work if you WEAR them.

  9. Federal law requires a US Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board a boat.

    a) True

    Federal law requires:

    • One life jacket for each person on board a boat
    • Life jackets must be readily accessible:
      • Not wrapped in plastic
      • Not stowed in closed compartment
      • Not under other equipment
    • And they must be:
      • Coast Guard approved
      • In good and serviceable condition
      • The appropriate size for intended users
    • Also required is one throwable device (immediately available) for boats 16 feet and longer (except canoes & kayaks)
  10. If you fall overboard wearing an inflatable life jacket, it:

    c) May inflate automatically or require manual inflation depending on what type it is.

    Some inflatable life jackets deploy automatically when submerged and some require manual deployment with a ripcord. All inflatables contain an oral inflation tube as a back-up system in case the air chambers do not deploy. Be sure you water test your life jacket to know which type you have and how it operates. (Note: whenever you deploy your inflatable life jacket, you must replace the CO 2 cartridge and “rearm” it so that is ready for the next use.)

  11. A sedentary person of the same weight as an athletic person usually requires more flotation (buoyancy) in a life jacket to keep his/her head above water.

    b) False

    In general, the more physically fit you are – (i.e. the higher your muscle to fat ratio) – the more buoyancy you need. Most adults need only an extra 7-12 pounds of buoyancy to keep their heads above water. But life jackets are not “one-size-fits-all” garments. How much extra buoyancy a person needs in the water is determined by body weight and the proportion of body fat to muscle, lung size, clothing and water conditions. That’s why it’s always a good idea to individually pretest the fit and performance of your life jacket in the water.

  12. An inflatable life jacket is suitable for non-swimmers:

    b) False

    Non-swimmers cannot accomplish oral inflation if needed, so inflatable life jackets are not suitable for them. Once deployed, a belt pack inflatable must also be put on over the wearer’s head, again requiring swimming ability.

  13. Inflatable life jackets are not approved for children less than 16 years of age:

    a) True

    For the same reasons that inflatables are not suitable for non-swimmers, they are also not suitable for children.

  14. Altering a life jacket to provide better fit does not affect Coast Guard approval:

    b) False

    Don’t alter your life jacket if it doesn’t fit. Get one that does. An altered life jacket is no longer U.S. Coast Guard-approved and may not save your life.

  15. Life jackets can lose buoyancy when used as a cushion or boat fender:

    a) True

    Don’t put heavy objects on your life jacket or use it as a knee pad or boat fender. They can lose buoyancy when crushed.

  16. What is an indication that your life jacket needs replaced?

    d) All of the above

    A life jacket should be checked and tested at the start of each boating season. To satisfy Coast Guard regulations, life jackets on board a boat must be in “good and serviceable” condition. There are a number of things to look for indicating that a life jacket needs replaced, including:

    • rips, tears or holes in the fabric
    • loose belts and ties
    • faded color, which can indicate loss of strength

    Older foam life jackets can lose buoyancy, so also regularly “water test” your life jacket to ensure that it keeps your chin above water, allowing you to breathe easily.

  17. It’s a good idea to buy a slightly larger life jacket for children to allow for growth:

    b) False

    Never buy an oversized life jacket to allow for your child’s growth. To work correctly, a life jacket must fit snugly. To check fit, pick the child up by the shoulders of the life jacket. If it fits, the child’s chin and ears will not slip through. Check the life jacket’s label to ensure it matches your child’s weight. It is also important to teach your child how to wear and relax in a life jacket in the water. Children often panic when they fall in the water and a life jacket may not keep a struggling child face-up.

  18. If you fall overboard into cold water, body movement is recommended to raise body temperature:

    b) False

    Maintaining body temperature is crucial to cold-water survival. However, movement actually lowers body temperature. So when you’re in cold water, do not swim unless you can reach a nearby boat, fellow survivor or floating object. Life jackets can help you survive cold water. They enable you to float without using energy and some insulate your body from cold water.

  19. Which of the following is TRUE about owning and wearing an inflatable life jacket?

    c) It requires regular inspection and maintenance

    Inflatable life jackets should be checked – including the buoyancy cell and inflation system – every two months. Some automatic inflatables have a cylinder seal indication that makes it easier to determine if the CO 2 cylinder is properly armed. C0 2 cylinders without a seal indication must be inspected regularly to determine if they are charged.

    Inflatable life jackets either deploy automatically with a water sensor, or manually with a ripcord, meaning that you should not have to blow it up (response “a”). However, if the automatic or manual deployment system fails, oral inflation tubes are provided with all inflatables, so it is recommended that you be able to also blow it up, both in and out of the water.

  20. Which of the following is TRUE about life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs)?

    c) Everyone towed behind a boat and onboard personal watercraft must wear one.

    Some activities such as riding a personal watercraft and being towed behind a boat (including waterskiing and wakeboarding) require wearing a life jacket. It’s recommended that you choose one of the many life jacket models available today that are specifically designed and tested for these activities, so when buying a lifejacket for personal watercraft riding, waterskiing or other towing activity, check the label for information on the intended use.

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