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Letter: Wear a life jacket, save a life

A man kayaks along the Long Island Sound

A man kayaks along the Long Island Sound off of Southold Town Beach in Southold on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 on a hot and humid day. Credit: Randee Daddona

Newsday's editorial "Stop dumping on LI Sound" [Aug. 24] raises many valid, important points regarding the environmental damage caused by continued open-water dumping. As Newsday opines, the federal government must find a better solution.

However, the photograph accompanying the editorial was rather disturbing. It shows an individual in a sit-on-top kayak, paddling without wearing a personal flotation device. As the editorial states, the Sound is "our North Shore playground." As such, the Sound and every other waterway must be enjoyed responsibly, which means always wearing a flotation device when boating.

Kayaks and canoes, especially, are unstable craft highly susceptible to weather and water conditions. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, 70 percent of all boating fatalities result from drowning. Almost 85 percent of those who drown are not wearing a life jacket.

Having a flotation device on board doesn't save lives -- only wearing one does. Anyone who has tried putting on a flotation device while already in the water knows that it is virtually impossible.

Alan Bergman, Port Washington

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the North Shore Kayak Club.