If you’re spending a day on the lake with your family, it’s easy to feel like you don’t need a life jacket. The boat is just drifting on relatively flat water. It’s sunny, warm and calm. Everyone is relaxed and enjoying themselves. You want to stash your jacket under the seats, put your feet up and enjoy the day.

The problem is that you can’t always predict when an accident will happen. Maybe it’s a storm that comes up quickly. Maybe it’s a rogue wave you don’t see coming. Maybe it’s another boater, intoxicated behind the wheel, who suddenly runs their craft into yours.

When these things happen, that calm day turns to chaos. That’s when a life jacket is so important. When looking back at incidents in which people drown after and during boating accidents, researchers found that a staggering 80 percent did not have a life jacket on at the time.

How many lives could have been saved if they did? Clearly, a life jacket cannot prevent an accident, and it’s no guarantee that it will keep you from harm. However, it can make it far less likely that you or a loved one will be killed when the unexpected happens. Keep that in mind when you’re relaxing on the lake or the ocean and it seems like you do not need that personal floatation device any longer.

If you do lose a loved one in a boating accident or if you suffer catastrophic injuries, it is important to know your rights to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses and damages. The Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A. assists people in seeking damages after boating accidents.