State Representative Al Ott is pushing for the safety of children out on the water. While Wisconsin and Virginia are the only two remaining states to not require life jackets for children, Ott’s will would push to change this and require all children to wear a certified life jacket when out on the water in any capacity.
The current law only requires that properly fitting life jackets be readily accessible for each person in the boat. But Rep. Ott sees this as impractical and as surefire setup for failure…
“It doesn’t make sense to have a life jacket in a boat, because when a kid falls over it’s too late to put it on him.”
The proposed bill will mimic the current requirements set on federally regulated waterways such as the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Ott compares requiring PFDs on children to child safety seats or childhood immunizations, where preventative measures are key and not an afterthought. While Ott does acknowledge that there is some opposition to the bill in regards that other colleagues think it’s not appropriate to tell parents what to do in regards to their kid’s safety out on the water, he believes that it’s a non issue when truly striving to create a safe boating environment for the young.