As warmer weather draws people out to the water, many boaters and swimmers may begin to wonder about the rules and regulations around life jackets. One question that may come up is whether it is permissible to remove a life jacket on a boat for swimming. The short answer? No.
According to the United States Coast Guard, life jackets must be worn at all times on a boat unless you are below deck or in an enclosed cabin. This means that if you are swimming, you are still required to wear a life jacket.
The reason for this is simple – accidents can happen. Even if you are a strong swimmer, unexpected waves, currents, or other hazards can make it difficult to stay afloat. A life jacket can provide the buoyancy you need to stay safe until help arrives.
Additionally, life jackets are designed to keep your head above water. This is incredibly important since drowning is a leading cause of death in boating accidents. Even if you are a strong swimmer, exhaustion or injury could make it impossible to keep your head above water without a life jacket.
It’s worth noting that not all life jackets are created equal. Inflatable life jackets, for example, are generally not recommended for non-swimmers or children since they may not provide enough buoyancy. It’s important to choose a life jacket that is appropriate for your size, weight, and swimming ability.
While it may be tempting to remove your life jacket while swimming on a boat, it is not permissible. Remember to always wear a properly-fitted life jacket at all times while on the water. It could save your life.