From the Editor: the Controversy of Compulsory Lifejacket Use

SAIL Magazine's Editor Peter Nielsen offers an opinion on the matter of compulsory lifejacket use...
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
 Young kids, tippy boat: an appropriate place for a lifejacket

Young kids, tippy boat: an appropriate place for a lifejacket

For some time, contributing writer Alan Keene has been trying to talk us into printing his essay on lifejacket use—make them compulsory, he says! We finally gave in, and you can read Alan’s rationale for compulsion HERE.

Personally, I couldn’t disagree more—there are times when I’ll wear a lifejacket and times when I won’t, but I’d rather not have some bureaucrat making that decision for me, or some humorless goon in a uniform writing me up for not wearing a lifejacket on a 50-yard row to shore on a blazing hot summer afternoon—because you just know that’s the sort of thing that’s going to happen.

SAIL’s position is that we strongly encourage sailors to wear lifejackets, but leave it up to the individual to decide when and where to do so. Most states already have some form of law concerning lifejacket use by children, and for those that don’t there’s a Coast Guard rule in effect. Some northern states have cold-weather laws requiring lifejackets to be worn during winter; these mostly apply to small boats, kayaks, SUPs and the like, which are tippy by nature and on which you’d have to be pretty stupid not to wear a lifejacket.

I’d be interested to know what others think, though, so if you have an opinion on the matter of compulsory lifejacket use, drop us line at sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Nielsen_Peter2014-250x

Peter Nielsen lives and sails in Marblehead, MA, where he dons his lifejacket when necessary

Related

20190614_131026

Kiwi Spirit Takes Line Honors in Bermuda

Mark Riley’s Farr 63 Kiwi Spirit secured line honors yesterday in the Marion to Bermuda race, finishing off St. David’s Lighthouse at 0227 local time. Francis Seldorff’s Kinship, a Baltic 52, was second in the 40-boat fleet, crossing the line at around 0500. With 18-year-old ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No cracked skulls please Modern boats with aft bathing ladders offer a big advantage when it comes to rescuing crew who have fallen overboard. Not all casualties are basket cases unable to help ...read more

01-Lead-show

France’s Annual Multihull Show

If a boat show could be described as intimate, the annual Salon International du Multicoque in La Grande Motte, on France’s Mediterranean coast, is it. Held in the latter part of April, the multihulls-only in-water show is a boon for builders, because the people who attend come ...read more

Furlex-Electric

Gear: Seldén’s Furlex Electric

Furl Power Seldén’s Furlex Electric offers an easy path into the world of sweat-free headsail furling. The compact unit can be retrofitted to an existing manual Furlex unit or installed as a replacement for whatever you’ve got now. Its DC-DC converter accepts your boat’s 12V or ...read more

11_DSC8423Tom-Zydler

Cruising: Nova Scotia

There’s a unique cruising ground that combines access to urban locations with easy escapes to wilderness and nature. Its native people may be the friendliest on the east coast of North America. Its coastline runs 250 nautical miles in a straight line, but that should be ...read more

01-LEAD-shutterstock_727849660

Boat Monitoring System

Boat Oversight In a world where you can track your friends’ locations in real time and stream yourself live on the internet, it should come as no surprise that you can also keep a close eye on your boat from the comfort of home. In fact, not only is there a plethora of options ...read more