[Public-list] forum to discuss mandatory wear of personal flotation devices

George Dinwiddie gdinwiddie at alberg30.org
Tue Jun 1 17:47:40 PDT 2004

You know, it 5% of boaters don't wear PFDs, but 15% of the drowned 
boaters were wearing PFDs, then that suggests that wearing a PFD makes 
you *more* likely to drown. <g>

George Dinwiddie wrote:
> Mr. Holloway,
> I regret that I will be unable to attend the NTSB forum.  However, I 
> would like to provide some input on this topic.  The fact that the NTSB 
> has placed such a requirement on it's "most wanted" list prior to 
> conducting research, tell me that my input will probably be in vain, as 
> the Board has already decided what is appropriate.  Nevertheless, I 
> would like to raise the following issues.
> 1. The Coast Guard statistics reported do no say how many active boaters 
> there were in 2002, but I am sure that 750 boaters is a very, very small 
> percentage of them.  Boating has excellent safety numbers, in spite of 
> the fact that some lives are lost.  Zero fatalities is an unrealistic 
> goal, and could only be achieved by eliminating boating altogether.
> 2. Given that laws cannot force people to take action, but can only 
> punish them for not doing so, it is a sure thing that not all of the 
> boaters who drowned without wearing PFDs would have been saved no matter 
> what the law said.  In fact, I would hazard a guess that, considering 
> the number of boating accidents that take place with vessels out in 
> conditions that a prudent mariner would consider manifestly unsafe for 
> the given vessel, or that take place with vessels operated in a 
> manifestly unsafe manner, it is likely that few of these 637.5 boaters 
> would have been wearing lifejackets even if required by law.  Therefore, 
> the estimate that 450 lives could have been saved if these boaters had 
> been wearing PFDs does *not* imply that 450 lives could have been saved 
> by passing such a law.
>  Sincerely,
>    George Dinwiddie

   When I remember bygone days                         George Dinwiddie
   I think how evening follows morn;            gdinwiddie at alberg30.org
   So many I loved were not yet dead,           http://www.Alberg30.org
   So many I love were not yet born.
                                             'The Middle' by Ogden Nash


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