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Life jackets can save lives, but only if you wear them

Published on Friday, June 10, 2016

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Life jackets can save lives, but only if you wear them
Warm weather kicks off the boating season in South Carolina and many people will take to lakes and rivers for a weekend of fun and relaxation.

Unfortunately, the weekend could end in tragedy for some, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

Last year, 19 people died on South Carolina's waters in boating-related accidents. Drowning was the cause of death in 74 percent of these. While wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) will not prevent a boating accident, it will give you a much better chance of surviving if you end up in the water as the result of one.

All vessels must have at least one Type I, II, III or V PFD (life jacket) that is Coast Guard approved, wearable, and of the proper size for each person on board or being towed.

All children, under 12 years of age, are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved Type I,II,III or V PFD while on board a Class A (less than 16 feet long) vessel. Each person riding on a personal watercraft (PWC) must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I ,II, III or V PFD. Life jackets can save lives, but only if you use them.

Find out more about these and other safety rules by taking a free boater education course. Find DNR boater education course listings at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/education/boated.html or by calling 800-277-4301.

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