What are the different types of life jackets?
There is a wide range of life jackets on the market with options to suit all ages, sizes and water-based leisure activities. You can find patterns tailored for recreational boating and water sports such as skiing and riding on personal watercraft, as well as styles for hunting, fishing, paddle sports (such as canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding) and offshore boating and racing.  They come in a variety of configurations and are available in five types (ranging from type I to type V), each further categorized by design:
- In-house or standard: These life jackets are floating on their own . They usually contain foam or other material that keeps you afloat. These are suitable for all passengers, especially those who are not strong swimmers or can not swim at all.
- Inflatable: These units are inflated with air (either automatically or manually by pulling on a cord) when you hit the water thanks to a CO 2 cylinder included in the design. Although they are not as bulky as regular life jackets, they must be used for proper activity (especially those where you are not immersed in water) and should not be worn by anyone under 1
- Hybrid: These life jackets are a combination of standard and inflatable models.
- Special Purpose: This is a class of life jackets (type V) manufactured for a specific activity. These can include float coats for seabird hunting, rafting vests or life jackets for windsurfing. The intended activity will be specifically called out on the jacket label.
Sizes for life jackets for adults, children and pets
When choosing a life jacket, make sure it has been approved by the US Coast Guard, is the right size and fits the activity you are doing. For help in choosing the right type of jacket, the US Coast Guard compiled a useful manual.
Laws on life jackets vary from state to state. In states where there is no law on lifesaving bags for children, a U.S. Coast Guard interim rule requires children under 13 to wear a properly fitted US Coast Guard-approved life jacket while on a boat.
Below are some other tips to keep in mind, depending on who will use the life jacket:
- For adults: Although it is important to choose a life jacket that suits your activity, it is also important that you find one that is the right size. For adults, this is mainly determined by your weight and the size of your breast. To get an idea of your breast size, measure the circumference of your breast at its widest point.
- For children: Putting an adult life jacket on a child does not. The children's life jackets have their own safety functions such as headrests, handles and straps that are attached between the legs so that the jacket does not slip off. Life jackets for children are placed in three categories based on weight:
- Adolescents (55 to 88 pounds)
- Children (33 to 55 pounds)
- Infants (33 pounds or less)
- For pets: PFD for dogs is available in different sizes and patterns. Look for one that fits snugly, has lockable buckles and a handle for lifting and has a low profile so that they do not get caught on anything. Keep in mind that these types of life jackets are not certified by the US Coast Guard. Before you take your puppy on your next trip, read our 10 best water safety tips for boating with dogs.
How do I mount a life jacket?
When it's time to choose a life jacket for yourself or a loved one, the US Coast Guard recommends the following tips:
- Choose one that fits your size and weight. This should be clearly marked somewhere on the jacket.
- Make sure it is securely fastened. Buckles, straps, straps and other safety features can be confusing. Make sure everything is where it should be.
- Check the fit. Raise your arms straight up over your head. Let someone grab the top of the armholes and pull up. There should be no extra space above these openings, and the jacket should not come up over the chin or face.
- Test it on shallow surfaces. Take that life jacket for a test drive before you leave. Make sure you float and make sure the jacket keeps your head above water and does not come up over your face.
How often should a life jacket be tested for buoyancy?
According to the US Coast Guard, standard foam-filled life jackets should be tested for buoyancy and wear every year. If you have an inflatable life jacket, follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure that you follow their recommended maintenance procedures.
How many years does a life jacket last?
Strictly speaking, there are no exact expiration dates for life jackets. . However, your jacket must be maintained and functional in order for it to be considered useful. Also keep in mind that if you have an inflatable life jacket, components such as the CO 2 cylinder will expire, so be sure to stay up to date on the manufacturer's maintenance requirements.
Can you drown while wearing a life jacket?
First of all, it is always better to wear a life jacket than not to wear one. Drowning while wearing a life jacket is rare, but there are some situations where the risk may be higher:
- Your life jacket is too small. Life jackets are not only classified for activity and performance; they are also classified by weight. If your life jacket is too small, it will not keep you afloat.
- You are not wearing your life jacket properly. If the belts, ties or zippers are not fastened properly, there is a risk that the device may come loose. This is why it is especially important for children to have child-specific life jackets that are equipped with a strap that runs between the legs.
- You're in cold water. When water temperatures are 70 degrees or lower, there is a chance that hypothermia may take effect.
- You'm stuck. Even when wearing PFD, canoes, kayakers and other paddlers can get stuck in nested ships or be caught on something like a rock or branch.
- You are injured. What happens if you hit your head or hit unconscious? If you do not wear a life jacket that faces upwards over the water, you can be in serious danger, especially if no one is around to help.
- You can not keep your face out of the water. Every time you are in waves, you will eat some water. But if you are beaten by too many waves and inhale too much water for a long time, you may risk drowning.
Make sure your next trip is smooth sailing
With boat insurance from Erie Insurance, you get extra protection for your next trip, in any case. Because coverage types can vary widely depending on a number of factors, talk to your local ERIE agent. They can help you find out exactly what you need and what type of policy is best for you before you go out.
Hot weather is finally here! When the boating season is on its way, this is a good time to start with important tips about boat safety.
When you start getting your boat ready for fun and relaxing days out on the water, make sure a life-saving item is at the top of your priority list: life jackets.
Whether you are the captain of a kayak or a fishing boat, you must have a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person driving your recreational craft. And with good reason. According to the US Coast Guard, 86 percent of the individuals who drowned during a fatal recreational boat accident in 2019 did not have a life jacket.
Although each state may have different rules for when and where to wear a life jacket, the safest choice is to always take one when you are on the water.
Although all life jackets are part of the family of personal flotation devices (or PFD, if you like acronyms), they are not all created equal. Here we share what you need to know to keep you and your passengers properly equipped and safe this season.