Life jackets save lives

Published 9:27 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2017

With temperatures expected to remain high this week, hundreds if not thousands are expected to flock to West Point Lake to beat the heat. That is great for our local economy since those from out of town will most likely eat at local restaurants and buy other items like bait and sunscreen  in town.

However, a story from Columbus this week reminds us of the importance of water safety. If you haven’t read the story, a Fort Benning soldier’s body was recovered from the Chattahoochee River yesterday, according to the Ledger Enquirer.

The soldier was not wearing a life jacket, and neither were two survivors, who were cited for not wearing life jackets.

It’s a sad story and our thoughts are with the victim’s family as they try to move forward after this tragedy.

If there’s anything to take from that news and other stories like it, it’s the importance of wearing a life jacket on the water.

Life jackets are essentially seat belts on the water. They may seem bulky and uncomfortable — and not fashionable — but they literally can save lives.

They are a basic necessity for everyone out on the water from fishermen to kayakers to skiers. Even swimmers are encouraged to keep life jackets where they can be easily accessed in case of an emergency, such as a swimmer who has a sudden cramp and needs to be rescued without unnecessary risk to the rescuer. It is also important to remember that even the strongest swimmer can drown if knocked unconscious.

Life jackets are also too easily available for purchase to risk your life over the excuse of not having one.

Most stores that sell fishing equipment also sell some sort of flotation device, so make sure to pick up a life jacket before you go out on the lake next time. Doing so may save your life. We recommend keeping one handy.