What NOT to do with a Life Jacket - eNidhi India Travel Blog

What NOT to do with a Life Jacket

-2020 update: Had to remove photos due to technical issue (site where I had uploaded them went down)- will try to restore -

There were a few boat mishaps in Kerala earlier this year and accidents of various kind keep happening all over. We often blame the government and officials, but how serious we are, about our own safety, is something to be introspected. Was at Hogenakkal yesterday and as we got ready for a coracle ride, the life jackets were in short supply. The people in-charge were giving life jackets in a rationed manner- one or two per boat.

While it might appear cool and nice to wear a bright orange life jacket and board the coracle, the thick stuff creates additional sweating and its bulkiness starts giving a feeling of discomfort, as people settle into the coracle and get away with initial fears. What happens next is in front of your eyes below: the life jacket either becomes a shield to protect one from sun tan, or goes under the body to create cushioned seating in an otherwise rough coracle. The Coracle ride in Hogenakkal involves multiple short rides on Coracle (you ride a bit, get down, walk a bit, get on it again and so on). Majority of the tourists do not carry their life jackets till the end of the ride (so that the crew can bring it back to the starting point and give it to next set of riders). Instead, they prefer to abandon the jackets somewhere on the rocks or elsewhere, as soon as they get bored of it.
Not just the life jackets, but everyday safety measures like seat belts, helmets and so on, we always give in to the comfort of not following the safety norms.

What can be done?

Also, in an unrelated observations, the life jackets had tsunami rehabilitation program marks on it. Not sure how these are related. Standby for more photos of the beautiful hogenakkal falls.

Also read: life saving skills from movies * Deep forest trekking * Forgotten factor: safe braking distance * Hogenakkal- then and now


  1. I clutch to my life jacket as if my life depends on it :)

  2. That's so idiotic on part of passengers.
    I wonder what if they start charging passengers a nominal amount for these jackets etc. Will that solve this problem of abandoning it midway? Or ppl will then prefer not to have it at all?

    I think whether they charge or not, wearing/providing them should be made compulsory.

  3. I think they want to emphasize that these life jackets could have saved a few lifes duriing tsunami with those pics. :0

  4. In some remote places in Malnad, I have cross large water bodies on small boats.

    Since locals know swimming, no one has any idea about life jackets.

    So, I have brought one for me and wear it on boat!! That makes life simple.

    I had been to Hogenakkal early this year and had not seen any life jackets!! Looks like there are some improvements now but again people need to be educated.

    Finally, it is their life.

  5. Scary for sure. People don't really care for the safety precautions at such dangerous places. At least, i have been lucky enough to have good life jackets whenever I need before getting into waters during my trips!

  6. Nisha,
    Already the ride is expensive at Rs 200 per person. Instead of charging extra, taking a refundable deposit might be better idea.

    IGS: hmm...

    Aravind: Yes lots of changes in Hogenakkal compared to my last visit in Feb 2009. Will write more on that.

    Yes, we need to be lucky n prepared all the time

  7. The incident at the Hussain Sagar is the worst!

  8. Good observation and hope the concerned authority take note of this and educate the fun seekers about their own safety.

  9. SRA Sir,

    In fact authorities and boatmen were happy if tourists don't bother them demanding life jackets... "Nothing will happen, you can come without it" is what most of them insist

  10. there were no life jackets when i went there :( and i am one person who loves to see the falls but am really scared of falling in!! if i had been given one, it would have helped me concentrate more on the falls!

  11. Anu,

    Yes, life jackets are introduced very recently


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