Lifejackets for everyone under 16…what do you think?
In a story picked up by the AP, one Springfield family who lost a father and son to drowning on Lake Stockton a year ago has now taken their campaign to the Missouri House to raise the age for mandatory lifejackets on Missouri waters from 7 currently to age 16.
The father and son, Brian and Nathan Keese, drowned March 26, 2010 at Lake Stockton after being caught by a storm while boating. Neither were wearing lifejackets, and hypothermia contributed to the deaths, since the lake water was seasonally cold.
Craig Keese, Brian’s father and Nathan’s grandfather, has since made it his mission to prevent similar tragedies, with a whole host of initiatives ( see story in the Springfield News-Leader) including an effort to raise the age for mandatory lifejacket wear for persons 16 and younger.
The family was founded http://www.brianandnathankeesewatersafetyorganization.com and have a Facebook page to promote their cause. Rep. Charlie Denison, District 135, Greene County, has introduced HB 777 to “Require any person younger than 16 years of age to wear an approved personal flotation device when on a watercraft on Missouri waters unless the person is in a fully enclosed part of the watercraft.” (Full text of the bill.
Other states have similar laws. Penalty for a responsible adult who does not ensure the child has a PFD on would be a Class C misdemeanor. The text of the law does not define “watercraft” — and it seems unclear if the proposed law would apply to non-powered craft or not.
There are a lot of Traveler readers who like to play in the water with boats, and take their kids (or someone else’s) along.
What do you think? Is this a good idea, or an unrealistic burden?