Interesting lesson on PFD’s (personal flotation device)

The boat is pointed at the wind. A lovely breeze washes over us as we are anchored out in at El Hornillo, Aguilas. The scenery is stunning: Behind us the main land with steep barren rocks rising out of the water, topped with an old pise (Berber?) fortress looking building and modern resorts to the left. In front of us an impressive rock island made up of different type of stone, reddish sand, sparse prickly bushes and the remnants of old stone and concrete looking houses, now lacking doors, windows and roofs. Seagulls and albatros circle the air and white herons fly on and off and rest in a huge flock on the island where ever is shade.

On port side a beach with colourful parasols. A few other boats. People playing in the water. On starboard side the big blue ocean.

Yesterday René took our kids to shore in the dinghy, to go play on the beach and swim. He had Lauren in a PFD as she is not a strong swimmer yet. As he reached the sand, he hoisted the kids up on the beach and turned to grab a bag of towels and parasol. In that moment, he heard a “poof!” sound and turned to see Lauren helplessly floating with her head firmly held in place by orange bags of air.

“But daddy, I only wanted to swim!”, she cried looking shocked.

It took the PDF not even 2 seconds to inflate from the moment she decided to hit the water.

What a great lesson for the kids as well as for us: the kids now have seen (and in Lauren’s case experienced) what a PFD does. For us the lesson was threefold.

  1. Those small PFD’s really do inflate fast and keeps your childs head well above water, even if the water is knee deep;
  2. We need to carry spare gas canisters, as this PFD now no longer works (we’ll reuse the gas canister from a spare PFD for now);
  3. We need to be even more aware of the ways we give instruction to our kids and understand that when you are a kid, being on a beach to go swimming means you go swimming! Like, NOW, daddy!


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