PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — The State Fish and Boat Commission stated in the past ten years since the mandatory cold weather life jacket requirement was put into effect, they’ve seen a significant decrease in boating deaths.

Since the regulation was put in place back in 2012, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission says that although the amount of boating accidents has remained the same, the number of deaths during the cold weather months has gone down from 58% to 17%.

Even if you are wearing a life jacket, it is still important that you practice safe measures during these colder months. A majority of boating deaths happen during this time.

“Every January we get a thaw where the temperatures go up in the 50’s, but the water is still in the 30’s and 40’s. Very cold. And if you go in, and you’re not wearing your life jacket, you will not survive. It’s that simple,” said John Mahn, Commissioner of the Fish and Boat Commission.

This mandatory life jacket requirement requires boaters on boats that are less than 16 feet long, or any canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, to wear a life jacket from now until April 30.