This spring before you take that first trip out on the water, make sure you and each of your passengers has a life jacket that fits. For a life jacket to work properly, not only does it need to be on your body, it should fit properly as well. A properly fitting life jacket is more comfortable (meaning you are more likely to wear it) but more importantly, it functions better. Life jackets that are too small or too large can ride up or even come off when you are in the water.

It’s easy to check a conventional life jacket for proper fit, just put it on. The life jacket should fit you snuggly with all zippers, straps, ties and snaps correctly secured. With a partner behind you, raise your arms like you are signalling a touchdown in a football game. Have the partner lift the life jacket by the shoulders. The life jacket should come no higher than your chin. If the life jacket covers your face or comes off, that’s what would happen in the water. In this case, tighten the straps or use a smaller size. 

Wear your life jacket!  In an emergency there might not be enough time to put one on. Assuming you will have time to put one on in case of an emergency is like assuming you will have time to buckle your seat belt as the accident happens. Wearing one at all times may save your life.

Learn more about boating safety. Flotilla 85 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary conducts About Boating Safely classes in Brigantine, with the next class on Saturday, June 9. All operators of power vessels and personal watercraft (Jet Ski, Wave Runner, etc.) on waters of the state of New Jersey, regardless of age, are now required to possess a boating safety certificate. Upon passing the test at the end of the About Boating Safely class, an N.J. Boating Safety Certificate will be issued. A $60 prepaid registration is required. Classes are taught by qualified U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary instructors. Each class runs 8 hours and a lunch will be provided. Class size is limited, so register now to guarantee availability.

In addition to the class to be conducted June 9, classes will be given on the following Saturdays: July 14 and Aug. 11. All classes start at 9:00 a.m. and are held at the Brigantine Beach Community Center, 265 42nd St.

You may register by leaving a message at 609-926-7607 or emailing boatsafely@comcast.net. Class information is also on our website at www.uscgaux-brigantine-nj.org.

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