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Heading Out on the Water This Weekend? Why You Should Wear a PFD

GRENADA, Miss.–If you’re headed out to the lake and you plan to put a boat in the water this weekend, you need to be sure you’re wearing a personal floatation device. You also should be properly trained to drive your boat.

“Twelve and under have to have a PFD on at all times,” said Lt. Randy Newell, with the Miss. Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the agency that patrols the waters in the state to make sure people are following the law.

“Please make sure that PFD fits that child. Do not put that small child in an extra large PFD. They will slip out of it and you will lose the most precious thing in your life.”

Newell cited the example of the people caught in a storm Saturday during the regatta at Dauphin Island. Two people from Mississippi were killed when a storm wrecked several boats suddenly.

RANDY NEWELL ON THE JT SHOW

“Those people were very experienced. Those weren’t people who just started boating. They were very good captains of those ships.” Some of the survivors said they had life jackets, but did not have a chance to get them on.

“You’re dealing with mother nature and you’re dealing with water, and those unforeseen elements. Very Dangerous.”

Newell said he and his officers wear a newer kind of floatation device called the “Mustang Suit”, that looks like a pair of suspenders. Some kinds inflate automatically if you go in the water. Other require you to pull a rip cord to inflate it.

“I was in a a restaurant the other day and a lady said ‘what’s that you have on’ and I looked down and I had come off the water and didn’t realize I still had my floatation device on. It is very comfortable.”

Newell said if you were born after 1980, you also must have a certification to operate the boat. You can call or log on to mdwfp.com to find out when your county’s next boating class is.

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