How strong are Northwest swimmers, and how often do they use personal floatation devices in the water?

According to the 2016 PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll, nine of out 10 Washington and Oregon residents would rate themselves at least a “fair swimmer” and more than half (54 percent) don’t take basic safety precautions like wearing a personal flotation device or lifejacket when they’re playing on the water.

That can be a deadly decision, especially if alcohol is added to the mix. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, drinking is even more hazardous on the water than on land. In drowning fatalities, nine out of 10 victims don’t wear a life jacket.

How about you? Have or would you ever 1) swim without a personal floatation device or 2) boat or swim while drinking?

Please use the scale below to rate how well you personally swim.
Total OR
13 15 I’m an expert swimmer
42 41 I’m a good swimmer, but not an expert
36 36 I’m a fair swimmer
8 8 I don’t know how to swim
1 0 Don’t know
When you are playing on or near the water, how regularly do you wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket?
Total OR
10 11 I always wear a PFD or life jacket
14 15 I usually wear one
21 22 Sometimes I wear one
25 25 I rarely wear one
29 27 I never wear one
When you are playing on or around the water, what is your attitude about drinking alcohol or taking other drugs?
Total OR
58 59 It’s never okay for me to drink alcohol or take drugs
25 25 It’s okay every once in a while
14 12 It’s usually okay
2 2 It’s always okay
1 2 Don’t know

About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
PEMCO Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 600 respondents in Washington and 600 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.

About PEMCO Insurance
PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, and umbrella insurance to Northwest residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold to consumers by the method they choose – phone, local community agents, or online. For more information, visit

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