Wearing a life jacket is important to keeping yourself safe when you’re out on the water. Whether you’re heading out for the first time or in need of a new life jacket, let’s take a look at a few of the different kinds to choose from and some tips on how to make sure they fit properly.
Types of Life Jackets
Auto inflatable life jackets offer a light design that allows for a comfortable wear and can keep you cool when a heavier life jacket might be too hot. What’s great about this jacket is that it can be activated manually to inflate or it will do so on its own once you become immersed in the water.
These life jackets are the average orange vests you have probably seen in movies or television shows. Their simplicity makes them perfect for non-swimmers who are still looking to keep themselves safe out on the water.
Perfect for water skiing and other high-speed water activities, floatation vests are designed to take a beating while still keeping the wearer afloat when stranded in the water.
Similar to vest-type jackets, offshore vests have almost a collar around the neck of them to help turn unconscious or struggling swimmers on to their back, allowing them to continue breathing or regain their breath.
Fitting Your Life Jacket
Once you find the right jacket style, it’s just as important to get the right fit. Before you even try it on, the U.S. Coast Guard says to check the tag to make sure the jacket is the proper one for your height and size. Once on, fasten any straps or clips that are on it. Be mindful that the jacket still fits securely with the straps or clips closed and that it doesn’t ride up your chin or face. If it does, look for another vest.
If the jacket still seems comfy, test the fit by placing your hands straight above your head. After that, have someone grab the arm holes and pull to make sure the jacket won’t move on you if you become immersed in water. If it moves when pulled or you can’t put your hands above your head, continue your search. If it all checks out, then you and your jacket are ready for the open water.
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