Choosing the Best Life Vest for You

Buying life jackets or life vests is not so different than buying any other wear. This means you need to look for the size and other necessary factors that make the jacket suitable for your occasion. These vests are one of the essentials that can keep you safe when you are engaging in aquatic activities; whether it is boating, fishing, or doing extreme sports. Keep reading to find out what are factors you need to look for when you are choosing a good life jacket.

Why Wear Them?

Even the most experienced swimmers face unexpected conditions in natural waters. Whether it is extreme elements such as storms and rains or it is high-speed waters, these conditions can be very risky and life-threatening if you are not prepared.

Life vests and other personal floatation devices (PFDs) are one such remedy against the emergencies you may face in the water. It is also a legal requirement for anyone who is going into the water. Vests can keep you safe by keeping you afloat and reducing the risk of drowning.

Finding the Right Size

A well-fitted life jacket is safe, comfortable, and adjustable. Before you buy one, first check the size to see if it fits you. You can try the fit before the purchase. Put the jacket on and raise your arms. Then ask a friend to lift up your jacket by the arm openings.

If the jacket slid up easily, then it is too big for you. Wearing ill-fitted jackets is not much different than wearing no jacket at all. So, make sure to find the right fit, test the buckles, and move around it to see if it allows free movement.

The right-sized vest is also determined by the age of the wearer.  One of the biggest mistakes to avoid in aquatic sports is never to put a child in an adult vest. So, if you are taking children with you, make sure to get kids life jackets; these are available in different age groups as toddler life vests, infant vests, and children’s life vests.

Automatic or Manual

Both of these types have their own ups and downs. An automatic water-activated vest will inflate automatically when the wearer hits the water but has the risk of acting automatically if you hit a large wave. A manually inflated vest has a cord that you can pull, which as a result will inflate the vest.

The benefit of this type is that they can avoid false activation when you hit a large wave. But this also puts you at a disadvantage if you are unconscious. In addition to that, there is also the automatic pressure-activated vest which is generally recommended for activities where you get hit by water regularly. These vests will only activate if you are submerged in the water.

Type of Sport/ Event

Finally, the sport or event you are planning to do determines the type of vest you are going to wear. Depending on the intensity of the event, how much physical activity it requires are some of the determinant factors when it comes to this.

A fishing life vest is suitable also for activities such as canoeing and kayaking. However, there are vests specifically made vests for the latter two which also let the wearer sit comfortably in the kayak. Skiing and tubing have a different kind of vest that has wide-cut armholes for easy movement.

Just wearing any type of vest does not give you protection from water-related activities. You have to make sure it matches your age, size, and activity as well.

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