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Should vessels have life jackets for plus-sized passengers?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2022 | Admiralty & Maritime Defense

If you think Americans seem to be a bit portlier lately, your mind is not trying to trick you. In fact, according to reporting from USA Today, the average American has become both heavier and thicker in recent decades. The average woman now has a 36.3-inch waist, while the run-of-the-mill man’s waist is more than 40 inches.

Even though life jackets and life preservers have expiration dates, most of these are capable of protecting passengers for years. Still, if the life jackets on your vessel do not fit your passengers, they are not likely to do as much good as they should.

A numbers game

It is possible to find life jackets for plus-sized passengers, but these jackets often cost a premium. After all, bigger life jackets require more materials. Nevertheless, you do not want to take up valuable space on your boat or needlessly eat into your safety budget by investing in too many plus-sized life vests.

When it comes to offering sufficient protection to everyone on your vessel, you are likely to have to play a sort of numbers game. That is, you should consider both the expanding waistlines of Americans and the average size of your typical passenger when deciding how many plus-sized life jackets to have onboard your vessel.

A safety-centric approach

Obviously, you should not transport any passengers you cannot equip with a life jacket that fits properly. While it may be awkward to do so, you simply may have to deny boarding to anyone who cannot fit into the life jackets you have onboard.

Ultimately, if you decide to press your luck, you may be liable for any damages your larger passengers sustain due to life vests that fit improperly.