It’s not enough to have the life jacket. You need to make sure you have the right life jacket for your size, your activities, and the water conditions you might be encountering.
The Safe Boating Council has these guidelines:
Try It On
- Check the manufacturer’s ratings for your size and weight.
- Make sure the life jacket is properly zipped or buckled.
- Raise your arms straight up over your head while wearing your life jacket and ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings, gently pulling up.
- If there is excess room above the openings and the life jacket rides up over your chin or face, it does NOT fit properly. A snug fit in these areas signals a properly fitting life jacket.
- It is extremely important that you choose a properly fitting life jacket.
- Life jackets that are too big will cause the flotation device to push up around your face, which could be dangerous.
- Life jackets that are too small will not be able to keep your body afloat.
- Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved.
- Double check that your life jacket is appropriate for your favorite water activities.
- Take the time to ensure a proper fit. A life jacket that is too large or too small can cause different situational problems.
- Life jackets meant for adults do not work for children. If you are boating with children, make sure they are wearing properly fitted, child-sized life jackets. Do not buy a life jacket for your child to “grow into.”