Life vests are essential parts of the boating or swimming experience. Even if you consider yourself an adept swimmer, it’s always better to err on the side of caution; fitting yourself with an appropriate life jacket will aid your efforts to remain safe.
Life vests work by providing buoyancy; that is, enough vertical buoyancy for your mouth to remain above water when in either oceanic waters or lakes.
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They Save Lives
Wearing a life vest when in or around water will protect you from drowning, as well as being wise choice when boating, jet skiing or engaging in other water-based activities.
Drownings are the leading cause of recreational boating fatalities. Drownings often happen suddenly, leaving no time for anyone to grab and wear a life jacket before it happens again.
As most victims are unconscious and unable to call for assistance, wearing a life jacket is absolutely critical. Make sure that it fits you appropriately by considering body size, weight and activity levels when selecting one.
Some life jackets feature a headrest flap and grab handle to support your head in an emergency situation, as well as understraps to keep them from riding up during submersion.
New research published in Injury Prevention indicates that mandating life jacket use may be an effective means to reducing drownings in water environments. After Victoria, Australia mandated life jacket usage on board vessels for six years following passage of such legislation, drowning deaths declined from 60 deaths down to 16 over time.
Life jackets are not only meant to keep swimmers afloat; they’re also meant to assist rescuers in locating unconscious individuals who might be drowning. Equipped with various features such as whistles and lights that help search and rescuers spot victims more easily, life jackets help search and rescuers locate unconscious bodies quickly.
Life jackets come in all sizes and shapes to meet various needs, including children’s and infant sizes. Materials used may include nylon, ripstop fabric or even neoprene for these protection devices.
Life jackets may be associated with boating, but they can also be utilized for other water-related activities like swimming, fishing and water skiing. Novice swimmers or non-swimmers could benefit greatly from using one when engaging in these activities – particularly when supervision is lacking or the location is crowded.
Due to these considerations, the Colorado Marine Dealers Association highly advises all boaters and water users to wear life vests when in or near waterways. If you do not own one yourself, loaner programs are offered in many parks if this is something you need help with.
They Are Uncomfortable
Life vests may appear bulky and restrictive at first, but PFDs for watersport enthusiasts have been specifically engineered to eliminate chafing while permitting movement while lasting through multiple seasons of wear and tear.
Straps that contour to your body enable free and unencumbered movement without worrying that the jacket might ride up during paddle strokes or hinder any other movements. You may need to try multiple styles before finding one that is comfortable and secure enough for you.
An effective rule when selecting a life vest is to find one that snugly fits you but doesn’t ride up on shoulders or chin. Once you find one suitable to your measurements and body type, give it a trial run under safe and supervised conditions before diving in the water with it.
Children naturally gravitate toward water, so it’s essential that they wear an age and swimming skill-appropriate life vest. Look for one with brightly-colored fabric that stands out, as well as reflective elements or tape for improved visibility.
Some life jackets feature adjustable understraps across the legs to prevent riding up, and headrest flaps that open upon falling – both features can help keep kids’ heads out of the water and stop them from slipping out of their life jackets.
Life vests should have a UV rating of 50+ to provide swimmers with adequate sun protection and safeguard their skin from harmful rays and stains.
Finally, many life vests designed specifically to fit women are shorter and less bulky than their male counterparts, helping prevent them from riding up on women’s torsos when wearing skirts or other clothing that hugs closely against them.
Studies show that most boaters who routinely wear life jackets wear newer inflatable models that are both streamlined and comfortable – often inflating automatically when immersed in water or manually inflating themselves when needed.
They Are Not Approved by U.S.C.G.
Life vests are personal flotation devices (PFDs) worn aboard your boat to provide essential safety on the water for anyone unable to independently perform self-rescue in case of an emergency situation. They should always be worn by those navigating boats who lack physical capability for self-rescue in an emergency situation.
When planning a boating adventure and purchasing a life jacket, it is essential to select one which best meets the specifics of your water activities. For instance, kayakers and canoers should consider purchasing an US Coast Guard-approved Type III PFD as opposed to an inflatable option.
These US Coast Guard-approved life vests are intended for use in protected, inland waters where there is an increased chance of rescue, such as sailing, dinghy racing, water skiing, fishing and kayaking. They make great companions when engaging in these activities.
US Coast Guard-approved life jackets look similar to regular life vests but contain foam materials for buoyancy and flotation, enabling users to quickly find them both retail outlets and online.
Based on your needs and desires, US Coast Guard-approved float coats or jackets with automatic inflation devices that use CO2 cartridges to fill pockets with air are also an attractive and comfortable solution. These are among the most widely-sought options as they make travel effortless and enjoyable.
However, these float coats and jackets have some restrictions; for instance they may not be suitable for towing sports like skiing and tubing, while they could prove restrictive when kayaking or engaging in other forms of recreational boating activities – so be sure to do your research prior to purchasing one.
Make sure that when purchasing your US Coast Guard-approved life vest, that the label provides accurate details regarding its testing approval numbers and manufacturer details.
Make sure that the label is legible, including its date and place of manufacture; this information could prove crucial in case of an emergency situation.
Avoid legal fines by making sure that your US Coast Guard-approved life jacket fits perfectly for its intended use and contains all of the relevant information on its label. To stay legal and avoid fines, ensure it fits perfectly for its intended use and check its label regularly for updates.
They Are Inflatable
Inflatable life vests have quickly become more and more popular for good reason: they’re lightweight, compact, and more comfortable than their foam counterparts – not to mention more versatile as sailing, fishing, boating or paddling isn’t restricted!
Many inflatables feature an air bladder encasing your neck and fastened securely around your torso by straps; when filled with air, this creates an air cushion between you and the water, keeping your head and mouth out of it.
This design is ideal for surfers performing high-speed moves such as elevator drops or cartwheeling down large wave faces. Additionally, its air bladder can be manually or automatically inflated via cord pull.
However, auto-inflating life jackets tend to be more costly than their conventional counterparts; thus it is wise to carefully assess your needs prior to making this investment. They may take longer to inflate if you are an inexperienced swimmer or have children under 16 who haven’t received formal instruction on using one.
Due to their sleek designs, PFDs do not provide much protection against hypothermia; also missing are any protective features like full face masks that would provide greater support against hypothermia.
Though these modern lifejackets may be more comfortable than their classic predecessors, they do present certain drawbacks: They may not be as safe to wear when an unconscious boater experiences seizures; and their air bladder could shift out of position when surfing or performing hold-down maneuvers.
If you’re uncertain whether an auto-inflating life jacket is right for you, speak with your physician first. These devices may prove helpful for people who are weak swimmers or have serious medical conditions that prevent them from lifting their heads up when swimming.
Even though they can be uncomfortable, life jackets are an essential safety device and should always be worn while on recreational boats, even by those who do not swim. When selecting your lifejacket model it is essential that there is an array of sizes so that it fits you and your family perfectly.