Letter to the Editor: Life Jackets Save Lives, But Only if They Are Worn


A recent incident in the Cathlamet community highlights just how important wearing a life jacket is. 

A man was kayaking in the Columbia River when his kayak capsized. Luckily, the man was wearing a life jacket and was rescued safely, but that unfortunately isn’t always the case.

In the most recent U.S. Coast Guard boating statistics, 83% of the people who died in a boating incident drowned because they weren’t wearing a life jacket. Many of these people considered themselves long-term boaters who knew how to swim, but if knocked unconscious or hurt when entering the water, it can be impossible to swim. 

You wouldn’t try to put a seat belt on in the middle of a car crash. Likewise, it is not possible to try to put on a life jacket when you are in the middle of a boating emergency.

Make sure every person on board has a life jacket that fits them properly. If you need one to borrow, check out one of the Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Stations. Before you leave the dock, remember to put on a life jacket. You never know just how life saving it could be.


Gail R. Kulp

executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation