Adults also should wear life jackets

I watched as two skiffs, full of adults and children, pulled into the docks Sunday afternoon at the marina and as a family was set to depart.
The family preparing to leave meticulously strapped their children into life jackets. Life jackets also adorned the children arriving by boat.
My wife and I commented to each other about how we always have worn life jackets when travelling by boat, and had made sure our children also wore them.
Perhaps we are over cautious but my wife wondered what would happen should one of those boats be overturned. Would the parents survive or would their children be left orphans?
You might say it could never happen. Yet Monday morning, the headline from CBC Eastern Ontario stated: “Two men are dead after their canoe capsized in Bob’s Lake, north of Kingston; toddler rescued.”
Neither of the adults was wearing a life jacket. But they had made sure the three-year-old toddler was wearing the life preserver as they began their paddle.
They had never planned on venturing far from shore. They probably never had planned on flipping their canoe.
The canoe had flipped less than 100 metres from shore and nearby residents came to the rescue of the toddler. But the adults were seen slipping beneath the surface.
OPP divers recovered the bodies Sunday.
How often do parents feel that they don’t need life jackets but insist their children wear the vests?
I can remember a time when I, too, felt I didn’t need a life jacket. I was sailing in a brisk wind on my Laser sailboat when I gibed and the boom came around much faster than I had anticipated, striking me in the back of my head and bouncing me overboard.
I saw stars but didn’t lose consciousness. I was lucky but from that time on, I have worn a life jacket.
The Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship insists that anglers wear life jackets when their large motors are under power. Many now choose to wear suspenders that, according to the rules, must be worn at all times during tournament fishing hours.
Anglers have been tossed from boats. Anglers have been hurt. Life jackets have protected anglers.
Just as one would wear a life jacket water-skiing or kayaking in fast water, it makes sense to operate a boat or canoe wearing them.
In our family, donning a life jacket was as automatic as fastening a seat belt. I don’t understand why parents wouldn’t wear a life jacket when they insist that their children do.
Relatives now are looking after that three-year-old toddler. The cottagers on the lake have been traumatized seeing two persons drown close to their summer homes.
The drownings didn’t have to happen.

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