Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Trends in the wear of personal flotation devices (PFDs) in the UK 2009–2017


Around 372 000 people drown every year globally. In countries, such as the UK, a large proportion of these deaths are due to recreational boating accidents, and a dominant factor influencing the outcome is whether the person was wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). The rate of PFD wear is low around the world, with reported rates ranging from 5% to 40%. In an effort to combat this, the UK has been running an education campaign since 2009 to try and increase PFD wear. In this contribution, 9 years of observational data show that the educational efforts have had little impact on the rate of wear over time. Activity type and age both influenced wear rates, with kayakers and children significantly more likely to wear PFDs. This study shows that education has been ineffective and there needs to be some consideration of regulatory approaches in order to reduce drowning.

  • drowning
  • education
  • enforcement

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.