Life Jacket Fit
A PFD should be comfortable to wear and have a proper fit; it should not ride up higher than the ears or mouth of the wearer.
To ensure a PFD fits properly, follow these steps.
- Once your PFD is on, adjust the straps to get a snug fit. If the PFD will not adjust to fit snugly, it is too big.
- Once you have a snug fit, get into the water to see if the PFD will hold your weight. This step should always be tested in shallow water.
- Once you are in the water, bring your knees to your chest so that you are floating. If the PFD supports your weight and has stayed around your chest, you have a good fit.
It is recommended that everyone on a boat wear a PFD at all times on the water. If you are not wearing a PFD, be sure it is within reach in the event of an emergency.
Make sure all throwable devices are unwrapped, tested, and easily accessible.
Always check PFDs for rips and tears, and make sure all straps and hardware are working properly before going out on the water. If you find any damage, discard and replace the PFD immediately.
To get the longest life out of your PFD:
- Never use it for anything other than its intended purpose, such as for cushioning or as a fender.
- If it needs to be washed, hand-wash the PFD with mild soap and running water only.
- Always air-dry the PFD by leaving it in direct sunlight—do not expose it to direct heat sources.
Inflatable PFDs are a comfortable life jacket option that come in Types I, II, III, and V. Read more about them here.