11 out of 22 fatalities last year may have been avoided if life jackets were worn

by | Jul 17, 2019

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency Casualty Review Panel has reviewed 22 fatalities from last year ruling that 11 lives could’ve been saved if they had been wearing a life jacket. This figure is slightly lower than last year’s number of 13 lives (out of 27 fatalities).

The panel has been reviewing fatalities for 12 years, and during that time it has recorded that 200 lives may have been saved if the person was wearing a life jacket or buoyancy aid.

The majority of the incidents in question were made up of commercial fishermen, which also included accidents occurring at fish farms, as well as anglers. Many of the angler accidents happened in Scottish sea lochs.

The panel’s overriding advice was to wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid that is appropriate to the activity you’re taking part in. This is proven to dramatically improve your chances of surviving the shock of entering cold water.

In addition to this, the panel has also offered up a variety of other suggestions of measures you can take to keep you safe for whichever activity you’re undertaking.

They suggest you carry a VHF DSC radio and know how to use it. These radios can be used to contact the coastguard or other vessels that carry a personal location beacon (PLB) or an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). This will help rescuers to locate you, and will also show them your location even if you’re unconscious.

It’s also recommended that you download the RYA SafeTrx app onto your smartphone and use it in an emergency. You should also wear appropriate clothing and take the right safety equipment with you for whatever activity you’re doing.

Furthermore, it’s advised that you make sure your equipment fits properly. When wearing a life jacket, for example, it’s helpful if you have the crotch strap attached. The panel has added this snippet of advice after one case where a person died due to the fact that their life jacket wasn’t properly fitted, had ridden up and wasn’t keeping their head above the water.

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