5 Life Jacket Tips to Keep Your Family Safe on the Water

It’s National Water Safety Month! And since we’ve already covered boat safety, swimming safety, and fishing safety in our blog posts, we’re ready to tackle some of the finer points of water protocol. Let’s discuss what you need to know when choosing a life jacket.


Match the jacket to your activity.


Not only do life jackets come in all shapes and sizes, but you can also buy a variety of designs. For example, a vest style works well for recreational boating near shore. Yet, a more buoyant offshore design is best for venturing further into the ocean, where rescue may take a while. You can also opt for inflatable personal floatation devices if you want a slimmer, more comfortable fit.


Get the correct size.


Find your life jacket size by measuring your chest at the largest point. Then, you can compare that number with a manufacturer’s sizing guide to decide what you need. For children, choose a jacket that accommodates their weight.


Correctly sized life jackets will fit snugly but still allow plenty of movement. They also will hug your arms, so no gaps appear above your shoulders.


Look for United States Coast Guard approval.


Only purchase jackets that the Coast Guard has approved. Look for the USCG stamp on the inside of your flotation devices.


Watch out for tears and other signs of wear.


A life jacket is useless in lousy condition. So, watch out for rips or tears that might compromise its effectiveness. Also, avoid all water-logged flotation devices.


Consider your gender.


A female-specific life jacket often works better for women because it features an adjusted torso length and contoured cups that accommodate the bustline.


Of course, no life jacket works well if you never wear it. So, stow yours in a safe place and grab it every time you step into a boat.