A life jacket required for all aboard LIFE JACKET ABOARD REQUIRED FOR EACH PERSON ABOARD

By: George deVilbiss Columnist
-A +A
First of all, the law requires you to have a life jacket for each person on board the boat. Not only do you have to have the device, but it must be Coast Guard approved, it must be in good condition, and it must fit the person that would wear it. The last item – it must fit – can oftentimes be a problem. Not with adults, but kids. They generally have the nasty little habit of growing, as any parent quickly realizes year after year in clothes purchases alone. If you do a great deal of boating throughout a year, the cost of replacing an ill-fitting life jacket can be much more justified than if you only go boating a couple of times a year. Any old life jacket just doesn’t cut it. You should chose a life jacket not only approved by the Coast Guard, but one that is the correct size whether it is for a child or an adult, and appropriate weight of the wearer should be listed inside the jacket. Use the “touchdown” test to see if your life jacket fits properly. Lift your arms above your head as if signaling a touchdown. The chest portion of the jacket should not touch your chin when you look left or right, and the life jacket should not ride up on your body. Checking the fit for a youngster is easy: wearing the jacket, the child should stand normally with arms at their sides. Grab the jacket at the shoulders and firmly lift. The jacket does not fit if it moves more than three inches up and down. Additionally, for any infant or child, ensure that the life jacket has a crotch strap, an oversized float collar that helps keep the head out of the water, and a grab loop for easier water rescue. On all life jackets, adult or child, all straps should be intact and fastened at all times. Now for the good news: you don’t have to go buy a life preserver every year for a child that outgrows theirs or even your own. The California Department of Boating and Waterways partners with local fire stations along with the CSUS Aquatic Center at 1901 Hazel Avenue in Fair Oaks, to make life jackets available to the public on a loan basis. There are virtually dozens of fire stations that carry the loaner life jackets. Some of those include: El Dorado Hills: Station 54 at 2180 Francisco Drive and Station 85 at 1050 Wilson Blvd. Folsom: Station 35 at 535 Glenn Drive. Placer Hills Fire District: Station 1 at 16999 Placer Hills Road. Roseville: Station 1 at 401 Oak Street. South Placer County: Station 1 at 6900 Eureka Road, Granite Bay; Station 3 at 7070 Auburn Folsom Road, Loomis; Station 4 at 4410 Douglas Blvd., Granite Bay; Station 5 at 3505 Auburn-Folsom Road, Loomis; and Station 6 at 4550 E. Roseville Parkway, Granite Bay. There are numerous other stations in other nearby regions of the state, throughout Sacramento, West Sacramento, Grass Valley, and other areas. If you are out of the region and find yourself short of a life jacket, contact the nearest fire department station and see about borrowing a life jacket. Beats maybe having to put out the funds when it might not be in the immediate budget. CURRENT FISHING Local Waters: Salmon fishing at the mouth of the American River on up to Hazel Avenue has been hit and miss, a few fish caught one day, nada the next. It’s still a tad early for the main run and a rain storm to cool the waters down should make the world of difference. However, fishing for stripers has remained steady and constant on the American. In the region of the old grist mill, there’s a good population of linesides and a lot of offerings will attract getting bit. If they’re boiling, toss top water gear, like a Zara Spook. Drifting live minnows will work, working swim baits like a broken-back Rapala or Rebel will work, and even crank baits should attract a bite. Salmon catching on the Feather River could be a tad better than what is being found on the American. Some decent action is being found upriver from the mouth, though, places like trolling in the Shanghai Bend area. As a bonus on the Feather, there are some fresh-run steelhead being caught further up the river, in the Gridley region. Lake Oroville: So amazing what a really wet winter will do for water levels. Lake Oroville is a gorgeous lake, barely down from the full mark. Lots of boating room and the best part – fish are biting. You can virtually whack and stack bass. Simply work something like Senkos off the main points. The mudline during the midday hours has been good for those tossing cranks. The bass are gorging on the Japanese pond smelt population but still willing to chomp whatever comes their way. Rollins Lake: Like many lakes, it’s dropping steadily. While the fishing is far from red hot, you can expect to find camping areas pretty easily with school districts firing back up and the kiddies going back to school. There are crappie, bass, and catfish to be had. Stumpy Meadows: Don’t expect to just drive up there and find a campsite. Word is the campgrounds are packed and reservations are mandatory. The good news: fishing has been nothing short of red hot. With the campgrounds full, there has been a lot of boat traffic, but those fishing from shore and those trolling are all picking up limits of ‘bows. Bay Area: Potluck boats are filling the boats with combinations of rockcod, halibut and stripers from both inside the bay and straying outside the Golden Gate and doing some drifts outside. Salmon boats are finding pockets of salmon and if they find the pocket, limits on board are nothing uncommon. Bodega Bay: There can be a downright great bite one day; the next day, they can’t find the fish. If they’re having trouble finding salmon, you’ll still come home with fish as most boats will simply switch over to rockcod and whack away limits for all on board. Fort Bragg: Salmon here can be hit and miss, too. Pat and Karen Heaviside, skippers of the BRAGG-N tell me they got one salmon one day for four anglers on board and got 9 the next day for five anglers. Big fish in the region, however, have been running in the 30 pound class. Lake Amador: When the full moon was glowing bright, night fishing for bass was the way to go. Now the moon is back down, fish for ‘em during the day with worms and jigs. There’s been a surprisingly good crappie bite at night and even some trout for those fishing off the docks. The lake is well known for some awfully big catfish and those fishing the dam-spillway have been scoring using cut bait. Any questions, comments or concerns, contact George at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM