It’s only a “life” jacket if you wear it!

Boaters think they will have time to prepare for an accident, time to grab a life jacket and put it on. In reality, there often is no time. And once you’re in the water, it may be too late. Some people may choose not to wear a life jacket because they are strong swimmers, and they count on providing additional buoyancy through actions such as treading water.

Types of life vests

  • Type I life jackets are suitable for use on open waters. They have the most buoyancy, a bright color and are made to turn unconscious person with the head up.
  • Type II life jackets are intended for use on calm waters, where there is the possibility of a fast rescue.
  • Type III are suitable for most sports and leisure activities. They Offer freedom of movement and maximum comfort for use.

Life vest type III

How can something so light and small save my life?

When you are in the water, you feel much lighter. That’s because your body has displaced water that is pushing back and creating buoyancy. Therefore your body already has some buoyancy and a life jacket doesn’t need to support all of your weight. It just needs to displace enough, to keep your head above the water. A life jacket is filled with a very light material, usually foam that can displace a lot of water compared to its weight. A cubic foot of foam weighs about one pound. It will float on top of the water because it only has to displace one pound of water.


Life vest type II

A life jacket has additional safety purposes to consider:

  • A life jacket will help protect a person against hypothermia, an important feature when a rescue might be slow in coming. The jacket will help you keep your head above the water and it will help contain the body heat. Instead of exerting heat and energy in treading water, people wearing life jackets can pull their legs into their chests, which slows the escape of body heat.

  • Most life jackets are brightly colored to aid in rescue efforts.
  • Life jacket can absorb some of the impact of a fall and minimize injuries.
  • Few people plan to fall overboard. When someone ends up in the water who didn’t expect to be there, a life jacket can provide some valuable time in adjusting to the shock. Most people thrash around when panicked; a life jacket helps the user right himself and keep the head above water.

Life jacket must be:

  • Coast Guard approved
  • in good and serviceable condition
  • of a appropriate size for the intended user