Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Safety for Squirts

Every casual reader of the Daily Boater knows how strongly we feel about kids wearing life jackets, and every parent knows how difficult it is to get kids to wear them.

Lots of life vest designers have tried to tackle this issue by adding colorful designs and pictures of cartoon characters such as Spider-Man or Dora (both of which sit in this editor’s garage). No matter how many colors or cartoons you add to a life jacket, kids just don’t seem to be impressed.
Opa Cove changed that when they created Sea Squirts. Sea Squirts are the first and only life jackets to have a flexible fin on the back, which is actually more than just a fun design to get the kids to wear them. Opa Cove founder Richard Barbis told us at the Newport Boat Show that the sturdy grab-me fin is rated to hold up to 150 lbs. The jacket comes in a variety of styles, including the Clownfish (Disney probably won’t let Opa Cove call it the Nemo vest, but everyone who saw it at the Newport Boat Show was calling it that!), Killa Whale, Grrreat White Shark, Dolphin and Angelfish.

Opa claims that Sea Squirts life vests are shipshape enough to qualify as a ski vest or wake-boarding vest, and are currently pending U.S. Coast Guard certification as a United Type III PFD (expected by 2011). As soon as they’re officially certified, they will be a must-have for your boating squirts. The fin-on-the-back design is also available on a swim assist vest – perfect for the pool or beach.

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