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Vested Interest

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Wearing a PFD on a hot and humid day can be mighty uncomfortable. But there are far less comfortable things. Photo courtesy/copyright Florida Powerboat Club.

To scold those who die in boating accidents for what they did or didn’t do is disrespectful to both their memories and surviving friends and families. The dead can’t defend themselves. What’s more, for whatever choices they made that may have hastened their demise, they paid the ultimate price. Common decency dictates that we let them rest in peace.

The living, however, are fair game. So I’ll start—and stick—with myself.

More than a few times in the past six or seven years, I’ve gone more than 100 mph in a boat without wearing a proper high-speed vest. Why? Because it was hot out. Or I was lazy. Or I was too cool. Or stupid. (As a catchall, I’m going with stupid.)

Sure, I was exercising my “personal choice”—I wasn’t breaking any law. But I also was making a choice for the emergency responders who would need to recover my body in the worst case. And, oh yeah, I was making a choice for my family and friends, who would have to wait in agony until my body was found. Choices have consequences. Especially the selfish ones.

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