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On a hot day, there's nothing particularly comfortable about any personal flotation device. No one argues that. But life is full of little trade-offs, and the potentially life-saving benefits of wearing a PFD at all times when you're underway outweigh—by a long margin—whatever discomfort you might experience.

Basic stuff, right? Total no-brainer. And yet how often do PFDs spend their day in the cabin? More often than they should.

"A lot of people will buy a jacket because it fills the requirement for a poker run or some other kind of event, but when they're out on their own they won't wear it," says Tres Martin, the founder of the Performance Boat School. "You can't force people to wear them, but if they value their lives they will.

"It's like people who ride motorcycles without helmets," he added. "They don't think anything is going to happen. Well, things happen."

So how often does Martin wear his own Lifeline Sport jacket? Every time he gets in a boat—any boat.

"I wear it religiously," says the former world champion offshore racer. "I don't care if it's a boat that only goes 40 or 50 mph, if I'm getting in it I'm wearing my jacket. I have been thrown out of boats. I know the importance of a jacket."

Martin's jacket of choice is, as noted above, the Lifeline Sport Vest PN-160 model.

"It's comfortable to wear, and that's important when it comes to getting people to actually wear it," he says. "I've seen those jackets do their job many times. I would say that while any jacket is probably 'better than no jacket,' if you value your life you'll buy one that it is designed for the kind of boating you do."

Related stories: Tres Martin's Safety Corner

Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image