Boating Safety: Life Jackets - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Boating Safety: Life Jackets

Posted: Updated: - According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 84% of people who drowned in Washington last year were NOT wearing life jackets.  The way to prevent an accident on the water is simple...wear a life jacket!

This week is National Safe Boating week and Governor Jay Inslee has launched the "Wear It Washington" campaign encouraging all boaters to wear a life jacket.

According to Don Kidder of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 85, wearing a life jacket whether you're on or just off of your boat is a must.  "You must have one wearable PFD (personal flotation device) for each person on-board," say Kidder.

There are four different types of PFDs: Type I, II, III and IV.

Type I: Floats in the water and keeps you face-up, in case you're unconscious.  Meant to be worn for a long period of time in the water.

Type II: The "classic" PFD that is designed to keep you afloat for a shorter period of time than a Type I.  It's less bulky as well.

Type III: Considered to be the most comfortable but will not keep you face-up in the water.  Meant to be used in calm water.

Type IV: A PFD that is thrown to a person in the water.  They come in either seat cushion form, or ring form.  They are NOT meant to be worn.

If you intend to operate a boat and are over the age of 12, you MUST have a Boater Education card.

Kidder is teaching a class on June 15th at Columbia Basin College and it's free to attend.

If you're interested in taking the class to get your card, you can email Don at

For more information on boating safety, click here.