Life Jackets

Life jackets for every boating activity

Boating safety advocates recommend that all boaters and passengers not only have a life jacket, but wear it at all times while boating. Accidents on the water happen too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket.

 


The best life jacket is one you will wear.
Modern life jackets are more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know.

Suspender Inflatable

Life jackets that use inflatable technologies are cool and comfortable. Many inflate automatically when immersed in water.

Belt-Pack Inflatable

Life jackets that use inflatable technologies are cool and comfortable. Many inflate automatically when immersed in water.

Inherently Buoyant

Inherently buoyant, lighter-weight life jackets come in a variety of colors and styles. Multiple buckles and clasps to keep them secure after impact with the water.

Children

A variety of life jacket styles are available – some with cartoon characters or other high-visibility schemes – and many include safety features such as straps for pulling children from the water and head support. Never buy a life jacket for a child to grow into.

Pets

Don’t forget your four-legged friends. It’s helpful to purchase a life jacket with a handle on top to easily pull your pet out of the water, if needed.


No matter what the activity or style chosen, the most important thing is this: Be responsible and always wear your life jacket while boating.

Life Jacket Fit

Make sure it fits

You don’t want your life jacket too large or too small. A snug fit is a proper fit. Remember, life jackets for adults do not work for children.

1Make sure the life jacket is properly fastened
2All straps, buckles or zippers are secure
3Hold your arms straight up over your head
4Ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings and gently pull up
Life Jacket Care

All Life Jacket Care

  • Use properly
  • No rips, waterlogging or mildew
  • Dry after use
  • Hand wash in mild detergent
  • Store in a dry place when not boating

Refer to OWNER’S MANUAL for specific maintenance requirements.

Inflatable Life Jacket Care

  • Test: Orally inflate & holds air for 16 hours
  • Inspect inflation mechanism (not discharged, no corrosion, and properly installed)
  • If it holds air, repack and use
  • Replace the CO2 cylinder every time it is activated

Refer to OWNER’S MANUAL for specific maintenance requirements.

Read the Label

Choose the Right Life Jacket

  • Boating safe advocates recommend all boaters and passengers wear a life jacket at all times while boating.
  • All life jackets that are U.S. Coast Guard approved have an approval number. Look for it to ensure your life jacket meets the law requirements and is safe.
  • You may see a new label on the inside of new life jackets with a performance level icon.
  • Life jackets with the new label are approved for use in the U.S. and Canada, whereas devices with the old labels continue to be approved in one country or the other, not both.
  • Life jackets you may already own may have the old “type” life jacket label (Type 1-Type V).
  • The new label DOES NOT make obsolete life jackets with the old label.
  • You can continue to use your life jacket as long as it is in good condition and appropriate for the activity.

Warnings

Some life jackets are NOT approved for:

  • Water skiing or tubing
  • Personal watercraft or wakeboarding
  • White water paddling

Turn Ability

Life jacket will turn an unconscious wearer face up – test before use.
Life jacket will NOT turn an unconscious wearer face up.

 

Performance Level

Measured in Newtons

Life jackets with the new label have a performance icon measured in newtons.

  • Lower level number offers more mobility, comfort, and style with good flotation, and intended for near shore (calm water) activities.
  • Higher level number offers greater flotation, turning, and stability in the water, and for offshore activities (greater time to rescue).
  • There are areas where you may be boating near shore when rescue is hours away, and a higher level is needed.
  • Be honest about your swimming ability. Poor swimmers may need a higher level to stay upright and easily tread water.

More on how to read the new label
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“Saved by the Jacket”

Many lives have been saved throughout the world by boaters who did the responsible thing and wore a life jacket. Browse these real-life accounts of boaters who have been “Saved by the Jacket.”