The best life jacket is the one you will wear. It’s hard to have fun if you’re wearing something uncomfortable – luckily, life jackets can be and ARE comfortable!
There are many different life jacket styles based on boating activity. Whether you’re powerboating, whitewater paddling, fishing from a boat, or another boating activity – there’s a perfect life jacket for you. To know which style works for your specific activity, check the label.
Once you have your life jacket on, zip, click, and cinch! This means to zip all of the zippers, click all of the buckles, and cinch all of the straps. Your life jacket should fit snug like a hug from an old friend. Once you’ve zipped, clicked, and cinched, it’s time to do the buddy test.
The buddy test is an easy way to make sure your life jacket fits properly. To do the buddy test, just have a friend you’re boating with pull up on the shoulder straps of your life jacket. If your friend is easily able to pull the life jacket above your chin / head, that means the water can do so, too! If this happens, either grab a better fitting life jacket or tighten down the straps a little more.
Note: the buddy test won’t work on all inflatable life jackets! Double check the CO2 cartridge, make sure your inflatable life jacket isn’t leaking, and only wear an inflatable if you’re a strong swimmer.
Like we said, the most important rule is to wear it! Life jackets are comfortable, stylish, and help to save lives.
Learn more about life jacket styles and fit at https://safeboatingcampaign.com/life-jackets/.