How To Choose The Right Life Jacket

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Choose the Right Life JacketMany families who grew up boating, fishing and swimming in the local lake or nearby river, didn’t know how important it was to wear life jackets. And many of them would not have been able to afford them if they had. But today the research shows that, just like seat belts, life jackets save lives. They are affordable for just about everyone and if you are blessed to live near a beautiful body of water, such as Smith Mountain Lake, you will also have an abundance of different life jackets to choose from at local shops. The big question then, is How to Choose the Right Life Jacket for you?

Whatever type of life vest or jacket you decide on, having someone help you determine the right size is simple.  Once you have the jacket on and fastened, just have a friend or family member hold onto the tops of the jack from the back and gently pull up. If there is a lot of room or the  jacket rides up over the face/chin then you will know the jacket is too big. If it is snug around the arm pits and does not ride up then it is probably a good fit.

Types of Life Jackets

1. Auto Inflatable:

• Inflates automatically upon immersion
or manual activation
• Comfortable and cool
• May turn unconscious wearer face up
• Requires regular maintenance
• Not for children under 16 or non-swimmers
• Not for sports where immersion is expected

2. Manually Inflatable:

• Only inflates upon manual activation
• Comfortable and cool
• May turn unconscious wearer face up
• Requires regular maintenance
• Not for children under 16 or non-swimmers
• Not for sports where immersion is expected

3. Belt Pack Inflatable:

• Inflates automatically upon immersion
ormanual activation
• Extremely easytowear
• Requires regular maintenance*
• Must be placed over head after inflation
• Not for children under 16 or non-swimmers
• Not for sports where immersion is expected

4. Vest Type:

• May turn unconscious wearer face up
• Requires little maintenance*
• Good for non-swimmers
• Good flotation
• Less bulkythan offshore vests

5. Children’s Life Jackets:

a) Hybrid Inflatable

• Inherently buoyant, also inflates automatically
upon immersion or manual activation
• Requires regular maintenance**
• May turn unconscious wearer face up
• Not for sports where immersion is expected

b) Immersion Jacket

• Designed for possible immersion
• May not turn unconscious wearer face up
• Requires little maintenance*
• May have special safety features for children

6. Flotation Aid:

• Comfortable
• Stylish
• Requires little maintenance*
• May not turn unconscious wearer face up

7. Vest Flotation Device:

• Designed for possible immersion
• May not turn unconscious wearer face up
• Requires little maintenance*
• Rugged construction
• Designed for water-skiing or other high
impact, high speed activities

8. Float Coat:

• Designed for water activities or hunting
in cold weather
• Hip-length, concealed hood, 2-way zipper
with storm flap
• May help prevent hypothermia
• May not turn unconscious wearer face up

9. Whitewater or Touring Jacket:

• Intended for canoeing, kayaking, rafting,
and whitewater activities
• Special fit allows for freedom of movement
• May not turn unconscious wearer face up
• Requires little maintenance

10. Offshore Vest:

• Intended for boating offshore, open water,
and coastal cruising
• Offers the most flotation
• May help prevent hypothermia
• Bulky
• Designed to turn an unconscious person
face up

I hope this article will help you and your family to choose the Right Life Jacket.

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