For those who love being around open water but do not trust their swimming skills, then a life jacket is a necessity. A life jacket gives you buoyancy to help you stay afloat in water. The regulations regarding the life jackets differ according to states. Most places require one to wear the jacket when operating a motorboat or being in the open waters. Here is a life jacket – buying guide to help you when buying one.
Life jacket – buying
The type of jacket
There are various types of jacket. Type one life jacket is mainly used offshore. It has the most buoyancy and will keep one afloat for longer before the rescuers show up. Type two is mainly used in calm waters which are very close to the shore where it is easy for rescuers to reach you. Type three life jacket is used mainly as a floatation aid and is very comfortable for continuous wear. Type five jacket is used for certain specified activities which are usually indicated on its label.
The size of the life jacket depends on the age and gender mostly. The Life Jacket Advisor states that adult life jackets are determined by the size of the chest. The life jacket should fit the adult snuggly but still allow room for moving around easily. Measurement has to be taken from under the armpits and all around. The chosen jacket should fall within the jacket measurements.
For women, the jackets are sized according to the burst size, torso, and seams. For children, the type of jacket chosen is determined by the weight and not size. The children’s jackets may have a padded head support, a handle for easy lifting from the water and a strap to help the jacket stay in place. These additional features are very helpful when the child falls in the open waters.
Each life jacket has a different design and has foam which helps in fitting the contours of different types of bodies. The foam does not affect the safety of the jacket but helps in enhancing comfortability of the jacket. The jacket that has more straps has the ability to be customized to contours in one’s body.
The material of the life jacket
There are various materials used to make the life jackets. Some of the materials include Gaia, kapok, and PVC. Gaia jackets have high performance because they have low density, are cold and heat resistant and are easy to clean. Kapok is a natural material which is the fluffy fiber which surrounds Kapok tree. It is highly flammable but very light and buoyant. These life jackets are very durable since they do not lose their buoyancy and are recyclable when they become old. PVC, on the other hand, is resistant to many things including oil, fire, and chemicals. They are the most popular and are very strong and durable.
Other features to look out for include having neon colors or reflective tape for easy visibility in water or low light conditions, pockets for the collection of items like seashells and tabs for attaching things like whistles and knives.