Congress has just passed the 2012 Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Act and it includes one major change regarding the required transition from life floats to inflatable buoyant apparatus (IBA’s). Prior to this act all US Flag vessels that were required to carry life floats would have had to change to carrying IBA’s by January 1, 2015. This date has now been put on hold pending further data collection.
If you want to read the Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Act of 2012 the link will take you to the Library of Congress download. The section regarding IBA’s is on page 24.
I still feel that life floats are not an adequate piece of life saving equipment since they do not get victims out of the water. Hypothermia sets in rapidly and the consumption of alcohol worsens your chances (since many life floats are used on “party boats”, alcohol consumption is prevalent) of survival. The main reason life floats are so common is their cost. They are less expensive to purchase and do not require annual servicing like an IBA.
Past president of the United States Marine Safety Association and retired sailor
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