Marisette Edwards-van Linden van den Heuvell

Watch where you’re going, and wear your safety gear

The other day Dave and I were kayaking in the river. I was moseying along, with my Personal Flotation Device (PFD) tucked under the bungee cords on the deck of my kayak. Dave was imagewearing his PFD.

Suddenly I heard Dave shouting at the top of his lungs! When I turned to look in his direction, I saw a guy driving his jet-ski, full-throttle, heading straight for us while looking behind him. Presumably he had a companion behind him that he was keeping an eye on.

Dave’s shouting got the guy’s attention, and he swiveled his head forward and yanked the jet-ski away from us just in the nick of time.

I watched all of this in slow motion, realizing that if the jet-ski did run over us, I was dead in the water. Without my PFD on and fastened, if I were hit and injured, there was no way I would stay afloat long enough to be rescued.

Last year there was a jet-ski related drowning. A father and his young son were on the jet-ski. The father was wearing his PFD, but it wasn’t buckled. The son was buckled into his, probably because his father insisted that his son, the weaker swimmer, must. There was an accident that nobody witnessed and the son doesn’t remember. The son was found floating in the water, held up by his PFD. The father was not found for days. His PFD came off during the accident.

That is why we wear safety gear. It’s not because we can’t swim, it’s because we need to stay afloat if for some reason we are unable to do what we can normally do.

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