Expert panel releases findings on the use of lifejackets and buoyancy aids

A panel made up of maritime authorities and academics has claimed that 86 deaths at sea between 2007 and 2010 could have been avoided if the person or persons involved had been wearing lifejackets or buoyancy aids.

The panel, comprised of the Coastguard, RNLI, MAIB, the lifejacket industry and Portsmouth University, said commercial fishermen, anglers and leisure boaters were at the top of the list of people whose deaths could have been avoided.

The group added that in 2010 alone, of 35 maritime deaths where the wearing of lifejackets would have been appropriate, 21 deaths might have been prevented with the proper use of lifejackets and buoyancy aids.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Roly McKie said: “I hope that this information will help to encourage more sea users to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. As a result of this review, we are encouraging more commercial fishermen and other groups to wear personal floatation devices.
 
“A lifejacket is useless unless worn. Use your lifejacket’s crotch straps and, if possible, choose a lifejacket that has a spray-hood, light and whistle. Remember to check your lifejackets regularly and make sure that they are functioning fully.”

For advice on maintaining your lifejacket, see the Sea Safety section of the RNLI website.

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