Life Jacket Label – Read It

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You will see a new label on life jackets in store. What does that mean for you?

  1. It does not make your old life jacket obsolete! The most important rule to remember – check your life jacket every year to make sure it still floats you, has no rips or tears, and fits you well.
  2. Make sure your life jacket is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard! The labels on the inside of your life jacket should always display the USCG approval number, even if you have the older life jacket label.

But what does the new label mean?

The icons on the new label note the performance level, turnability, and different warnings. These icons help users wear the right life jacket based on the intended water activity.

The performance level icon includes five factors – buoyancy, freeboard, turning, stability, and visibility. The number reflected on the performance level icon goes higher to reflect more flotation, turning, and stability in the water. A higher-level rating should be worn when rescue could be hours away or when the boater is further offshore.

The turnability icon simply states whether the life jacket will turn an unconscious victim face up – or not. If there is a strikethrough on the icon, it will not turn a person face up.

Then, it’s important to always pay attention to the warning icons listed. These icons show the boating activities that are not approved for the life jacket. This can include water skiing, tubing, personal watercraft / wakeboarding, and whitewater paddling.

Thankfully, if the icons are confusing or you aren’t sure what they mean, the life jacket will come with a hang tag that will help to explain! Or, if you lost the hang tag, you can check out information at

Remember, when you’re looking for a new life jacket…

  • Make sure it’s comfortable and fits right
  • The life jacket is approved for the activity in mind
  • Wear It when you’re on or near the water

Learn all about life jacket labels at