Personal flotation device usage: do educational efforts have an impact?

J Public Health Policy. 1997;18(3):346-56.


Boating is a popular form of recreation in the United States. Unfortunately, many people drown due to boating-related accidents each year. Since many such drowning deaths are preventable through the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs), an observational study was conducted to quantify and evaluate the number and demographics of the individuals who choose to wear life jackets in King County, Washington. Further efforts were then directed toward evaluating the effectiveness of educational campaigns focused on increasing PFD usage and general boating safety. Highly significant increases were found in the use of life preservers overall and within various subgroups of the population. Total PFD use increased from 19.8% in 1992 to 31.3% in 1994. Future studies are needed to determine the reproducibility of this data and the feasibility of incorporating similar educational efforts into other injury prevention programs nationwide.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drowning / prevention & control*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ships*
  • Washington