First, for the record, I salute AAA Carolinas advocacy for highway safety legislation, automotive public policy, and doing their part to help make our roads safer for motorists. One of the benefits of being a AAA Carolinas member, in addition to utilizing their great road side assistance program, is receiving their bi-monthly Go Magazine. Unfortunately, AAA Carolinas fell short on safety in the cover photo of the January - February 2014 issue, by showing a couple sea kayaking off the island of Kauai without wearing PFDs!
One of the most essential pieces of safety gear that persons should wear, at all times, while paddling, is a personal flotation device or PFD. According to the United States Coast Guard, almost 75% of all persons killed in boating incidents drowned. Of those, 84% were not wearing a life jacket. In my opinion, a PFD is NOT optional safety gear, but mandatory. Both Rachel and myself always wear a properly fitted PFD when paddling and I urge all my readers to do the same!
I fired off an email to the Editor-in-Chief, Angela Daley to get her side of this story and within 10 minutes of sending it, I received the following reply! Wow. Fast response!
"Hi Mike. I appreciate your input on our cover photo and agree with your endorsement of personal floatation devices for watersports. I too am an avid kayaker here in the Charlotte area and always wear a lifejacket, so it certainly was an oversight on our part. Sounds like you're doing some great things encouraging safe kayaking — I will have to read more of your blog for ideas and places to kayak! Have a great new year, Angela."
It's encouraging when organizations like AAA Carolinas step up and admit to oversights like their recent Go Magazine cover photo. I also wish Angela a great new year and safe paddling adventures in 2014!