It’s National Safe Boating Week, which prompts me to point out two very simple statistics.
Most fatalities in boating accidents are caused by drowning, and 84 percent of those victims were not wearing a life jacket.
Eighty percent of drownings involve watercraft 21 feet or shorter (like most of the drift boats, rafts, pontoons, and flats skiffs fly anglers typically ride in).
You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out what I’m going to say next.
Please wear a Personal Floatation Device when you fish from a boat. Weird things can happen quickly on the water. I know it might make you hotter, and and maybe restrict your casting motion, make you think you look nerdy, whatever. But pilots have a saying about flying in bad weather: “I’d rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air than be in the air wishing I was on the ground.” Well, I’d rather be in a boat wishing I wasn’t wearing a life vest, than in the water wishing I had one on.
If you have any doubts, check out Tim Romano’s swim down the rapids of the Arkansas River (with vest and helmet).