Friday, December 18, 2009

Kayak Legislation

Here is a legislative bill that may be of concern to kayakers in Massachusetts and of interest to the rest of us:

(S 974) — The Massachusetts House recently gave initial approval to a bill that would require any person aboard a kayak to wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD). The measure also gives the state's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife the power to mandate that other safety equipment be aboard. The Senate has already approved the bill. Additional approval is needed in both branches prior to the measure going to Governor Patrick.

If this bill passes in Massachusetts, legislation like this could be passed in all the other states, too. Hopefully, Alabama legislators will realize that when the water temperature is 88 degrees and it is 98 degrees outside, wearing the PFD should be optional for the kayaker. Heatstroke could be a serious issue caused by wearing a thick PDF on sweltering days.

It is water temperature that should dictate whether a PDF is required to be worn. Cold water is a proven killer when not wearing a PFD. Kayak drownings ebb away as the water temperature gets warmer.

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