Are you planning on hitting the water soon? Well, you are going to need a life jacket first. And, if this is your first time getting one, things may be a little obtuse.
For instance, are there any specifications you must examine? Maybe, you need a particular type for different activities. The questions can go on here. So, to help you make a better decision, this article will list the most vital aspects you need to look for in such Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs).
Let’s dive right in!
Table of Contents
Two critical things you need to check
There aren’t a lot of factors you need to consider while purchasing PFDs. Yet, the ones that exist must be examined thoroughly. More importantly, it’s illegal not to wear them if you are on a boat in Australia.
So, now that you understand the necessity of such devices, here’s what you must look for:
Buoyancy aid and fit
Regardless of your size, you will weigh between 2 to 4 kilograms when submerged in water. Well, at least if you are an adult. That may sound shocking, but it’s due to how buoyancy works. Essentially, the water is going to offset everything.
Now, life vests have different specifications when it comes to buoyancy aid. Most often, it will range from 50 to 100 Newton (N). You don’t need the latter just because your size is larger than average. However, the 100 N variants usually offer a broader selection of fits.
The trick is to examine buoyancy aid and fit together while buying a life jacket. For example, with 50 N jackets, you put them on and lift your arms. If the vest moves, it’s not the right fit for you. That’s the same case with 100 N versions.
Colour and activity type
There is a valid reason why PFDs come in bright colours. It’s not a fashion statement but to help you survive if things go south. In short, no one will be able to see you attempting to stay afloat if your life jacket is dark-coloured. This is especially relevant when you are out on the water in the evening. So, ensure that you pick a brighter hue for such devices.
Additionally, there are different vests and jackets depending on the activity you want to engage with. While the subtleties are too elaborate to explain here, a good rule of thumb is to match the buoyancy aid with how close you are to the shore. Simply put, the further away you are, the higher the value needs to be.
Tips on checking jacket size
There is a simple way to ensure you purchase the proper PFD for yourself. Here’s how you do it:
- Put the jacket on and double-check that the buckles and zips are tightly fastened
- Lift both your arms and ask someone to pull the vest up through the arm openings
- It’s not the right fit if it slides upwards
- A snug fit in all the spaces—neck, arms and waist—indicates that a jacket is a suitable size for you
Note that this doesn’t apply to children. In most cases, PFDs for minors take the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. However, it’s still critical to ensure that you check for any liabilities.
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Safety first, please
Now, your personal preference will factor into this process. However, don’t let it skew your judgment. If you dislike a particular colour and the alternative is a darker shade, please do not go for it. Looking a little funny is much better than not receiving help when you need it.
Besides that, there’s nothing else. Here’s to hoping you have fun and, most importantly, are safe.