NASBLA Roundtable

Usage of PFD's at beaches

  • 1.  Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-14-2021 12:55 PM
      |   view attached
    Our parks division has asked me to pose the a question to the community.  Do you allow or not allow the usage of USCG approved PFD's on your beaches?  Our regulations currently prohibits the use of these devices at beaches except by an individual with disabilities, I have attached it below if anyone is interested in reading it.

    The justification in the past has been that parents will be less likely to pay attention to their children if they are in PFD's and be lulled into a false sense of security.  This is starting to cause confrontation between the public and our lifeguards when they have to ask children to take their lifejackets off, and obviously concerns of liability if something happens to a child that the life guard told to remove their PFD.

    I will end by saying I have always thought this was a ridiculous regulation and am happy they are looking to change it.

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    Michael Schipritt
    Environmental Police Officer
    RI DEM Law Enforcment
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    Attachment(s)

    pdf
    Beach PFD regulation.pdf   46 KB 1 version


  • 2.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-15-2021 07:38 AM
    I cannot imagine a more foolish regulation for water safety. The lawmakers surely have never pulled a lifeless child from the waters that you police. I agree with you, this law/rule should be changed immediately. A PFD is not a babysitter, but there are many different ways to deal with inattentive parents.
    Sgt. Stuart A. Umlauf




  • 3.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Reporting Project
    Workgroup
    Posted 07-15-2021 04:52 PM
    This is not the first time I have heard of such a regulation of this nature (as foolish as it is in my personal opinion). I have also heard it of public pools as well and I cringe at the thought of a government entity or it's political subdivisions thinking that restricting a piece of safety equipment from being employed is the right approach. As a member of the Life Jackets, PFDs and other floatation devices working group of the National Water Safety Plan, I with many others have had the opportunity to delve into a myriad of research and I don't ever recall seeing one that indicated restricting this use of life jackets would increase supervision and thus decrease drownings. In fact the research points directly to the use of such a device being the single most likely tool to saving lives. I wonder how such a regulation would even be enforce??? As a parent, I would take the ticket and go before the judges and say "if keeping my kid safe from drowning by adding a layer of protection is a crime then throw the book at me!!!". I also wonder what type of subconscious implications such a regulation is doing. For example, if they government is mandate that I can't wear it, it must not be safe and therefor I will never wear it. Just some food for thought. Their may be systemic implications to what has been done to this point that put people at greater risk far beyond those beaches!

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    Cody Jones
    Boating Law Administrator
    Asst. Commander Game Warden
    Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
    512-389-4624 Office
    512-431-1326 cell
    cody.jones@tpwd.texas.gov

    Texas Game Wardens Serving Texans since 1895 - Law Enforcement off the Pavement
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  • 4.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-15-2021 09:19 AM
    There is no law/rule similar to this at a state level of which I am aware in the State of Florida.

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    Gary Klein
    Captain
    FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Comm
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  • 5.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    CRBP Commissioner
    Posted 07-15-2021 11:31 AM
    Wow!! I had to read your post a couple of times to make sure I didn't miss something.
    Its hard to follow the logic here where law/rule makers say "let's make this as dangerous an activity as possible for all participants by forbidding them from taking measures to protect themselves or their loved ones in the hopes that it creates a higher level of hyperawareness." Nope - I can't buy it!! This goes against decades of water safety practices. Some municipalities in Oklahoma require children 12 and under to wear a PFD while in the water of their city's lakes and they provide either loaner boards or free checkout from nearby concessionaires.
    You cannot legislate common sense.

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    Lt. Mark Brown
    Boating Law Administrator
    Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Section
    Oklahoma City, OK USA
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  • 6.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-15-2021 10:19 AM
    I have to second Stuarts comments.  Why would the state wish to take on that liability.  Washington state has no similar statute and as far as I am aware, there are no similar local ordinances.

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    Matthew M. Stowers
    Marine Law Enforcement Coordinator
    Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
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  • 7.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-15-2021 11:31 AM
    On the issue of abolishing the "No Lifejackets" rule we ABSOLUTELY agree Michael. What an idiotic notion to restrict life jacket wear anywhere - doesn't exactly enhance an officer trying to encourage life jacket wear elsewhere when the first thing out of a violator's mouth is "Well you make us keep them off at the beach." Stupid.

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    Ed Huntsman
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  • 8.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-15-2021 11:32 AM
      |   view attached
    Our City - Evanston, Illinois (first suburb on Lake Michigan north of Chicago) does not allow PFD's, nor any inflatable object on its swimming beaches. No air mattresses, beach balls, etc. The rational is that with winds often shifting, inflatables can be blown beyond the marked off area for swimming that the life guards supervise. On many hot weekend days, the crowds are quite large, so difficult to keep track of everyone.

    We have already seen several dozen drownings on Lake Michigan this year, primarily due to rip currents during high wind/wave episodes.

    Attached is the beach sign that the City erected after some of my suggestions.

    Sigrid

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    Sigrid Pilgrim
    Illinois Paddling Council
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  • 9.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-15-2021 08:48 AM
    Absolutely 100% agree with Stuart.   Whomever wrote that regulation on the PDF is just stating the negatives.  No one is asking lifeguards to check the fit nor are they trained to ignore those wearing life jackets.   Any of the examples cited on this regulation can be true anywhere.

    It should be up to the individual as to whether or not they want to wear a life jacket.   Did we forget that wearing jackets saves lives?




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    Glenn Dean
    Connecticut State Certified Instructor
    Connecticut Boating Certificates LLC
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  • 10.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-15-2021 12:08 PM
    Several drownings and you are not allowing PFD's?  What's the "rational" there?  Its the rip currents fault, its the winds fault.

    I get that you don't want junk blowing into the water but come on guys.


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    Glenn Dean
    Connecticut State Certified Instructor
    Connecticut Boating Certificates LLC
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  • 11.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-15-2021 06:17 PM
    Glenn

    Thank you for the comment - sorry - I should have explained further.

    Most of the drownings on Lake Michigan due to rip currents are in areas without life guards where I think PFD's might be a good idea. When wave conditions are particularly high, swimming beaches with life guards are generally closed, with no one being permitted in the water.

    However, once life guards are no longer on duty - even though there are warnings, there will always be some beach users. And, as we all know, water  has a way to influence "natural selection" as my good friend Marge Cline (google her) used to say.

    Apologies again for not being clearer on the subject.

    Sigrid

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    Sigrid Pilgrim
    Illinois Paddling Council
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  • 12.  RE: Usage of PFD's at beaches

    Posted 07-16-2021 08:18 AM
    I 100% disagree with the regulation of no PFD's on the beach. That is absurd rule. They should be viewed as another safety precaution when on the beach, lake etc. Sure there will be rip tides, strong winds and currents, but rather a child/adults has on a PFD or not they should be observing the regulations of safety on the water. I don't believe that parents are less likely to watch their children when they have a PFD on. I believe that the parent is being proactive and that they can observe them easier because of the PFD.
         One of my mother's friends took her granddaughter to the beach on vacation. She stated that there were a lot of children all playing in the ocean she couldn't see her. The current pulled the little girl out and she drowned while on vacation with her grandmother. That is a awful incident but it's true.
         I do understand also the regulations are set in place to prevent lifeguard from swimming outside of the perimeter that they are observing. And they perhaps feel that some parents will be laxidasy if they have a PFD on and a lifeguard is on duty. But I don't think that they should judge the thoughts of every parents comfort level when they chose to purchase the PFD as a safety measure.. The PFD's should be viewed as a extra precaution.
         if that child had on a PFD she still could have been pulled out by the current but everyone on the beach would have seen her. There is a possibility that Advance swimmers could have been present on the beach that day and the Lifeguard could have called for help or swam to retrieve the child and brought her back to safety.  The Lifeguard would have clearly seen her floating in the PFD 🦺 if she had one on.
         I believe that she would still be alive today I'd she had on a PFD.

         That regulation needs to be overturned and PFD's should be a choice.

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    Gwendell S Livingston
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