A Life Jacket and a Prayer

8/23/2016

​This past weekend a family of four headed out for a day of boating a husband, wife and two infants they probably enjoyed their day and as darkness fell they headed in up the Indian River and that's when their day of boating changed. I don't know every factual detail but something happened and their boat overturned. As a mom and avid boater there could hardly be worse circumstances over turned, dark and my two babies in the water.
Boating is an awesome family hobby we live it but I fear many do not respect the safety precautions needed in these leisurely days on the water. I very often see infants being held and not in life jackets at all. The law says children under six years of age must wear a life jacket and I've boated when my son was an infant and it's hot and they don't love it but it's a must. We started taking our son out at six months but believe it or not we drove separate and limited both our children's time on the water to four hours. Harsh sun, heat and the temperament of an infant and special needs child come before my need for enjoyment. That was ten years ago and now we're out all day but I have to say still in before dark with our kids on board. Our kids, Breann 22 years is Downs and Autistic a non-swimmer wears a jacket and our son Joe 11 years great swimmer able to drive the boat, wear life jackets. Our boat goes fast but beyond that in an emergency I want them floating. Panic is most likely to ensue if a boating accident should occur and at least they have a chance wearing life jackets.
In our 11 years of boating I can tell you we've had close calls and bad weather and life jackets were a must and a bit of relief as maneuvering these situations can be stressful.
Often we see over crowed boats with multiple families and half a dozen kids cruising along all in no jackets. I believe six years or not while moving on the water kids should be in jackets you may think I'm ridiculous and over protective but the very day things do go wrong you'll wish you'd done it. On the water help is far away and minutes matter many times when things go wrong...no life jacket.
I pass no judgement on this family or any other I'm simply saying better safe than sorry.
For this family a miracle, God heard their prayers three of them were together one their 23 month old somewhere in the dark in the water. Rescuers searched for an hour and then heard her under the overturned boat she was in an air pocket under the boat in her lifejacket. I can't even pretend to understand what that hour must have been like for them.
They are thankful they are alive and their precious daughter saved through effort of rescuers who did not stop looking.
Today they have don't have to live with the thought...if my child was in a lifejacket she would be alive. Kids...adults we don't survive under water for long in fact just minutes and that's if we're not injured in some other way.
Rethink your life jacket policies while your on the water decide what your family needs to do to be safe and spend your next adventure in boating with no regrets. Best wishes for safe boating for all families.
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