For the love of YOU - wear your PFD
For the love of you, wear your PFD.
The summer of 2022 set a record. And it’s not one we want to top. There were 40 drownings on lakes and rivers in 2022. That topped the recent record set of 34 drownings on Colorado waters set only two years earlier in 2020. The majority of those could have been prevented simply by wearing their personal flotation device - or PFD. The paddleboard season is right around the corner, and all of us paddlers get to decide whether or not we set a new record or not.
I am so glad that people love to paddleboard. It’s a sport that I fell in love with and then decided to make my career. There’s no better feeling than being on, in, or around water - it’s cleansing to the soul and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Water is a powerful force of nature that can’t be controlled, teaching us to literally go with the flow. I’ll never forget falling in love with water at a young age with the dream of either being a mermaid or a raft guide spending every waking moment in the water, doing everything I can to protect the bodies of water I love - and myself.
I have a lot of conversations with my boys about safety and how as their mother, it’s my responsibility to keep them alive and safe. They don't go out on bikes or skis without a helmet. They don't ride in a car without a seatbelt. So why would I allow them to go out on the water without a PFD? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a helicopter mom. I allow them the space they need to try new things, potentially dangerous things, fueling the stoke while teaching them about safety and showing it in action by living out my own requirements.
When did wearing a life saving device become a nuisance? When did it become “not cool” to be safe? The people I looked up to growing up were the river rats dressed head to toe in safety gear. They had a deep respect for water and knew that it could take their life at any moment. They loved the sport enough to want to stay alive to continue participating in it. It’s my goal each time I go to the lake or river to set an example as a paddler by wearing the proper safety gear each time. It doesn’t matter if it’s 101 degrees or what tan lines I’ll get - my PFD is on my body.
I want you to understand something - I care very deeply about you. We may have never met, but I care about you. You were born with a purpose and on purpose and we need you here because you’re the only you there is. It’s my deep care for you, for people, that get me so wound up about water safety. When you walk into my shop, we will do our best to teach you about water safety while offering the right equipment to keep you alive and having fun because we want you here. You can tell me all day long that you’re a strong swimmer, but if Michael Phelps walked into my store, I’d tell him to wear a PFD, because I care about him too.
Paddle companies - we need to do better. I want to challenge all of you to only use marketing that has people wearing the proper safety equipment for the type of water they’re on. And please, for the love of your customers, show people wearing PFDs. They’re watching you because you set the example. We need to do better.
Gear can be replaced. You can’t. I’m not going to dance around this subject anymore. If you’re on the water or if your kids are playing near it, WEAR YOUR PFD. If you’re floating in the middle of the lake on a hot summer day, WEAR YOUR PFD. If you’re playing in a river or paddling down a river, WEAR YOUR PFD. Don’t keep it on your board, keep it on your body. Do you drive around without a seatbelt on and think that you’ll put it on right before you get in a crash? Probably not. I’m wearing my vest because I want to stay alive and have a blast doing it. So please, for the love of YOU, wear your PFD.