On page 15 of the April 2014 Athleta catalog, one finds this attractive model (nice teeth!) paddling an outrigger canoe. Unfortunately, she is minus a PFD! Here we go again!
I get it. Athleta, that sports the marketing subtitle "Power to the she" is interested in showing off their performance / swimming apparel on beautiful bodies... and wearing a PFD will cover up too much.
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 Athleta customer service team to get their take on my comments. I received the following response from Charla, Customer Relations:
"Thank you for your email. At Athleta, the safety of our models and crew at photo shoots is a top priority. We appreciate your feedback and will continue to meet the highest safety standards possible."
I just wish the "Power to the she" also extended to their models wearing essential safety gear (PFDs) when engaged in paddling sports.
Now, in contrast to the Athleta apparel model sans PFD, on the same day I received the Summer 2014 Endless Vacation magazine.I could not help, but take note on page 4 of a Fort Myers and Sanibel advertisement.
Well, what do you know? Two models, properly outfitted with PFDs, enjoying their SUP board and time on the water! Mike, the Durhamblogger, gives both Fort Myers-Sanibel.com and Endless Vacation kudos for producing and accepting advertisements that depict safe paddling practices.
I wish more apparel, paddling sports, and other magazines would take it upon themselves to adopt these "best practices" in their advertising and marketing campaigns.