Information Tacklebox


The Life Jacket

by Roland Sigurdson

May 2010

The 2010 Minnesota boating season is just around the corner, in fact with the early spring, there are many folks already enjoying fishing excursions on our lakes and rivers.

The first thing that needs to pop into our heads when we plan a fishing or boating trip is S-A-F-E-T-Y!

We recommend using materials provided in Chapter 6: Lesson 1: Safety and Fishing at the Water’s Edge from the Fishing: Get in the Habitat! leaders guide.

Remember: Life jackets only work when they are worn, and they do not take the place of adult supervision!

So you’ve read the lesson and gone over your check list:

Throwable PFD

Life jackets? Really? For everyone?

Rounding up 25 – 30 life jackets, that fit each individual child, is often a challenge. Typically, when shore fishing or fishing from a fishing pier the need for life jackets is greatly diminished. However, we always advocate that you have a throwable life jacket attached to 50 feet of rope to throw to a victim should it be necessary.

Youth with life jacket

Youth wearing life jacket.

On occasion we have had parents or guardians that required that their youngster wear a life jacket during a fishing program. This is never a bad idea, and never a burden. Remember safety first! In my experience it is best to have the parent or guardian supply a properly fitting life jacket for their child.

Life jackets are also a good idea when fishing rivers, especially in the spring and after major rain events. Rivers have one of the most abundant fish populations in our state, are amazing resources and may be the closest fishing site in your location. Remember though that there is moving water involved and it pays to be extra diligent when it comes to planning and safety. Always place an adult with a throwable life jacket downstream of all your young anglers, just in case.

Here are some tips and answers provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) boating and water safety specialist on life jackets that you may find useful.

What is a life vest and why does my child need to wear one?

How do I make sure I'm using the right life vest?

If you own a boat or plan on renting a boat or boating with a friend, you need to buy your child their own life jacket. Life jackets come in various types and sizes and there may not be a Lfie Jacket of the proper size and type to rent or borrow.

When buying a child's life vest, check for:

What's the proper use of a life vest?

Here's some pointers for keeping your child safe.

Remember: Life jackets only work when they are worn, and they do not take the place of adult supervision!