Life jackets. Simple, often uncomfortable, rarely ever-fashionable.

Don’t get caught without them.

As the summer boating season is in full swing – especially during weekends like the celebration of our country’s beginnings – safety is of the utmost importance. There isn’t any time for divas.

Let’s face it, just like drivers on the roadways, there are some boaters out there who can be reckless. Things can happen in a second. On boats, there are no brakes to stop instantly and no land to run on should there be a bad mishap.

According to the American Boating Association, there were 3,191 boating accidents across the country in 2020 – the last year for statistics. Of those, there were 767 deaths. Of those deaths, 75 percent of them were from drownings. And of those, almost all were because no life jacket was being worn.

The message is pretty clear.

Yes, there are lots of other regulations boaters must follow. They can be found here:, but life jackets are all important. They should be worn by everybody in the boat when underway, but they rarely are. It’s required that all children 13-under must be wearing one. It’s a good idea for them to wear them whenever they are on a boat – underway or not.

Make sure they fit each individual properly.

A throwable floatation device must be readily available at all times.

Keep in mind that these are just good practices for every time you leave the dock. 4th of July weekend, however, you can count on more fines being dished out for not playing the game. Marine patrols from each city, the state wildlife department, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, and the U.S. Coast Guard will increase their presence to make sure people are playing it safe.

Nothing can ruin a great weekend on the water like a bad or – heaven forbid – fatal accident. So do the prep work.

And by all means, have a great Independence Day weekend on the water.

To follow some of my other work, go to: