On Sunday, July 1st, Chicago, IL, got hit by a storm packing 100 mph winds. Two groups of kayakers were out on the Chicago River when wind-driven waves turned the normally placid river into white-capped froth. Some 30 kayaks capsized, sending dozens of novice kayakers, including children, into the water. Local rescue groups pulled 62 people to safety.
Two kayak tour companies got into trouble for putting customers out in their boats when severe thunderstorms were predicted. But one thing they both did right was put a life jacket on every one of these paddlers. Many got a bad scare, but there were no serious injuries and everyone came back alive.
Can you picture what it would have been like with that many inexperienced people of all ages in turbulent water generated by 100 mph winds if they had not been wearing life jackets? There would likely have been tragedy. It would have been a miracle if no one drowned.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that 80% or more of drownings could be prevented by wearing a life jacket. Caca occurs; boaters are just people between swims. Wear your life jacket. Live to boat another day.
Boat Often, Boat Safe!