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An important summer boating message: wear your PFD to avoid an SOS

07 Dec 2015

A public education campaign highlighting the life-saving potential of personal flotation devices will start in South Australia this weekend. 

Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said the campaign would encourage more people to wear PFDs, commonly called lifejackets, in a bid to save lives on the water this summer. 

“It’s better on you than on the boat – that’s just one of the messages we will be conveying to boat users through a series of newspaper advertisements and social media,” Mr Mullighan said. 

“Many boaties are good swimmers and might think they could rescue themselves if there was an accident but swimming is just one factor. 

“Immersion in cold water causes bodily reactions which can lead to drowning, such as severe hyperventilation, muscle spasms and even heart failure, just in the first few minutes alone. 

“After 30 minutes in the water body temperature can fall to hypothermic levels causing a loss of consciousness.” 

Mr Mullighan said the campaign was developed through consultation with stakeholder groups. 

“While motorised boats are required by South Australian law to carry PFDs for every person on board, it is up to the individual to decide whether to wear them,” he said. 

“I urge every person to wear a PFD while out on the water this summer, especially children,” Mr Mullighan said. 

“The majority of recreational boating incidents involve capsizing or a person falling overboard and typically occur with little or no warning leaving virtually no opportunity to put on a PFD. 

"Accidents aren’t planned, but safety can be. PFDs are tricky to put on once you’re in the water but imagine how much harder it is to put a lifejacket on a child when you’ve gone overboard. 

“And remember size does matter. If your PFD doesn’t fit properly then it may not achieve its role of keeping your head above the water and keeping you alive.” 

For more information about boating safety visit: www.sa.gov.au/boatingmarine

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