How to Choose A Life Vest?

Mar. 29, 2023

A life vest is a crucial piece of safety equipment that can save your life in an emergency situation. It's important to choose the right life vest and maintain it properly to ensure that it functions properly when you need it most.


Here are some tips for choosing your life vest:

  • Buoyancy: Make sure the life vest has enough buoyancy to keep you afloat. The amount of buoyancy required depends on your weight and the activities you plan to engage in. Check the label on the life vest to ensure it meets the required standards.


  • Fit: The life vest should fit snugly but comfortably. It should not be too loose or too tight. Check the manufacturer's instructions for sizing information.


  • Type of Activity: The type of activity you will be doing will determine the type of life vest you need. For example, if you are boating or kayaking, you will need a different life vest than if you are waterskiing or wakeboarding.


  • Type of life vest: There are different types of life vests, including foam-filled, inflatable, and hybrid. Foam-filled life vests are the most reliable, while inflatable life vests are more comfortable to wear.


  • Visibility: Choose a life vest that is brightly colored or has reflective tape to increase your visibility in the water.


  • Comfort: Look for a life vest with padded shoulders and adjustable straps to increase comfort and ensure a good fit.


  • Visibility: Choose a life vest that is brightly colored and has reflective tape. This will make it easier for rescuers to find you in the water.

    Life Vest

 Life Vest

How to put on a life jacket or life vest?

The manufacturer strongly recommends reading and understanding the manual and how to put on the jacket. Follow their recommendations regarding maintenance and testing requirements.

Check that all straps are flat and that buckles are not too tight. For inflatable life jackets, the air bladder inflates and tightens the webbing around you.

However, if you feel uncomfortable when trying on the life jacket, it may not be the right fit for you.

This is a new purchase for your water activities; so take your time when buying. Find out what it's for and if it's right for you.



If you have to buy several life jackets, price is a consideration, so ask your family for a store voucher for an early birthday or Christmas present. Or even an online credit.


Check monthly

Once a month or whenever you're going to use a life jacket or life vest, check the webbing and the stitching that holds the webbing together. Also check the zippers, buckles and straps.

Air cylinders for inflatable life jackets

Check before you go out that the Co2 bottle is not lit, has no corrosion, and has been tightened into the ignition device. If exposed to CO2, check that the airbag is not worn.


A good idea is to purchase a rearming kit at the same time you purchase your jacket and carry it on your boat.


What I have noticed is that as the boat moves, the Co2 can loosen up in the mechanism. Therefore, if they have been stored for a while, check that the Co2 is sealed.


Every 6 months

Inflate the life vest through the oral tube valve and inflate it in a dry area for 12 to 24 hours. If it does drop, re-inflate and check for leaks or take it to your agent for further testing.


You can use the oral tube cap in the reversed position to deflate the bladder. Do not place any object other than the cap to deflate the bottle. You will damage the valve.


Place the cap back on the oral tube to prevent dust.


Annual Testing

Always test in accordance with the manufacturer's and/or your maritime authority's instructions. It is recommended that you have your life vest inspected and tested by an authorized service and testing center. If you do use the jacket more frequently, it is safer to have it tested every 6 months.


Life Jacket Standards

These standards do change, so it's a good idea to have an up-to-date marine manual on hand. It is the captain of the ship that ensures everyone is safe.


If you end up in the water, the best life jacket is the one you're wearing, so take care of it and paddle safely!

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