Wearing a life jacket could save your life.
We extend our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Patrick Luca, an NYPD officer who was killed in a kayak accident this past Friday. It is a heart-breaking tragedy and a shock to the community, as it is still unclear how it occurred. Perhaps the only silver lining from this dark cloud is that his 5 year old son, Caden Luca, survived the accident because he was wearing a life jacket. Although Patrick Luca could swim, he was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.
According to the Suffolk Country Police Department, Luca launched an inflatable kayak onto the Nissequogue River at 1:30 pm on Friday, August 12th. What happened next is uncertain, although it was suggested that they may have been thrown from their kayak by the wake of a passing boat. An hour after Patrick Luca and his son Caden began their kayak trip, a couple in a 30 foot boat saw something floating in the water and heard a noise they later learned to be Caden blowing the safety whistle that was on his life-jacket. Caden was found floating about a mile off-shore heading out to sea. It is a miracle that he was safely returned to his mother.
This story is a real-life example of how wearing a life jacket will save your life. Knowing how to swim will help if you have the ability to do so, but what if you were rendered unconscious? And how long can you tread water while waiting for a rescue? What if you are injured?
While there are many reasons to wear a life jacket, here are some statistics that will remind you why wearing a life jacket is your biggest asset during a boating accident:
- Capsizing and falls overboard are the most reported types of fatal accidents, comprising 59 percent of all boating fatalities.
- Nine of ten drowning victims may have survived a capsizing or fall overboard if they had been wearing a life jacket.
- You cannot prevent an accident by your boating skill or experience alone.
Wearing a life jacket is not like the old days, with thick, bulky material that is uncomfortable to wear. There are comfortable life jacket options that you will not even realize you are wearing (until it saves your life). Please join us in spreading the word so that accidents like this one can be avoided.