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Life vests a must on Yolo waterways | Community

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Life vests a must on Yolo waterways
Life vests a must on Yolo waterways

The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office is stressing the importance of  wearing life jackets if you're beating the heat by taking to Yolo's waterways

Sheriff's Office spokesman Mark Persons says, "The benefits of wearing a life jacket are obvious.

"When properly fitted and worn, life jackets can save lives." In fact, says Persons, hundreds of lives a year could be saved in the United States if boaters and rafters and their passengers took proper precautions and wore properly fitted life jackets.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, nearly 85 percent of boating/rafting-related fatalities in the United States involve victims who were not wearing a life jacket, .

In Yolo County, which in West Sac includes the Sacramento River, the ordinance regarding life vests is as follows:

It shall be unlawful for any person to traverse the waters within the county on an inner tube, air mattress, or any other devise capable of transporting a person on the water without wearing correctly a Coast Guard approved wearable Type 1, Type 2, or Type 3 personnel flotation device; provided, however, the provisions of this section shall not apply if any State law or administrative regulation otherwise requires the carrying or exempts the carrying on board the vessel or device in question of other personal flotation devices. This is a misdemeanor offense and, under California law, failure to comply with the County Ordinance is punishable by up to one (1) year in jail, fines, restitution and court programs.

Persons says California boating law now requires:

  • All children under age 13 must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times.
  • Those on jet skis and personal watercraft and anyone towed behind a vessel must wear a life jacket.
  • For all rafts, kayaks and canoes, as well as boats less than 16 feet long, a life jacket for each person must be worn on board and easily accessible.
  • Boats over 16 feet long must have a life jacket for each passenger as well as a rescue flotation devise made for throwing, such as a ring cushion.

It is especially important to be cautious when supervising children in, on or near water, Persons says. "More than one in five fatal drowning victims are children under the age of 15. In addition, for every child who dies from drowning, another four children need emergency room care for non-fatal submersion incidents," he says.

To keep children safe follow these water safety tips:

  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Make sure the life jacket is the correct size and does not ride up when the   child’s arms are raised overhead.
  • Take swimming lessons taught by a certified instructor.
  • Learn CPR in case of emergencies

California’s lakes, rivers and the ocean are a great source of recreation and exercise, but they also present safety risks, Persons warns. "By obeying life-jacket laws and being extra careful when children are near water, you can avoid accidents."

For more information regarding Water Safety and Education, go to www.dbw.ca.gov. To learn where you can borrow and return a life vest for a child, go to www.cityofwestsacramento.org's link to the city's fire stations.

E-mail West Sac news and events to Carol Bogart at 3bogart@gmail.com.


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