Please wear it!
Think being a good swimmer means you don't need a life jacket? Think again.
Two-thirds of boaters who drown are strong swimmers, according to the National Safe Boating Council.
Responsible boaters wear their life jackets!
Wear It Right
If a life jacket fits properly, it will keep your head above the water. Too big, and the life jacket will ride up around your face. Too small, it will not be able to keep your body afloat.
Remember these five points for fitting a life jacket:
- Check the label. The label will tell you: 1) whether the life vest is Coast Guard-approved, 2) the size of the jacket and 3) how the jacket can be used. Sizes run from infant to extra extra large. Adult life jackets will not work for children until they weigh about 90 pounds. Children's life jackets should have a loop on the collar and a strap between the legs.
- Check for damage. Check that there are no broken parts and no mold or rips in the fabric.
- Fasten up. Fasten up all buckles, zippers and straps. Adjust straps so that the jacket fits snugly.
- Check for proper fit. Lift the shoulders of the jacket and make sure it does not slip above the chin or ears. It should feel snug, yet comfortable. A properly fitted jacket keeps your head and shoulders above water. You will be able to swim with it, too.
- Wear it! A life jacket only works if it's worn. Take the time to be prepared. Make sure you have and wear the right life jacket before you go out in the water.
Missouri Life Jacket Laws
- Boaters must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board and accessible for each occupant of the boat. (The U.S. Coast Guard recommends you wear, not just have, your life jacket.)
- Children under the age of 7 are required to wear a life jacket whenever they are on a boat unless they are in the cabin area of a houseboat or cruiser.
- All personal watercraft users are required to wear life jackets anytime they are underway.
Sources: Missouri State Highway Patrol and US Army Corps of Engineers