Every year, beginning in the Spring, the Jackson County Justice Court hears from citizens who have been ticketed for being on one of the area lakes without adequate Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs).
Their frustration is often stated as: “It was a beautiful sunny day. I had just bought a raft or Tahiti and took it out on the lake. There were no signs posted. I didn’t know that PFDs were required for a “blow up” boat. There were other swimmers in the area on air mattresses or inner tubes who were not ticketed. It isn’t fair.”
ORS 830.215 requires all boats to carry one properly fitted and Coast Guard-approved PFD that is readily accessible for each person on board . Children 12 and younger must wear an approved life jacket while on open deck. “Water wings” or learn-to-swim suits for children are not sufficient, nor are flotation seat cushions. Life jackets are also required to be worn when navigating Class III rapids. There is a $265 fine for each violation.
A life jacket can save your life only if you wear it. In Oregon, 90% of the people who drown in boating accidents would have survived – if they had worn life jackets.
Avoid an expensive fine or worse yet, a tragic ending to a water recreational outing by ensuring that appropriate life jackets are available for all boat passengers.