Boating Safety – Lifejackets

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,047
    Chris Edmonston with the BoatUS Foundation discusses safe boating including lifejackets.

    Chris Edmonston: Hi! I am Chris Edmonston with the BoatUS Foundation talking about boating safety. Today, we're going to talk about life jackets. Life jackets are probably the single most important piece of safety gear you can take with you. Life jackets come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and life jackets are designed for specific activities.

    So before you go out on the water, figure out how you're going to be using your boat, what kind of activities you're going to participate in, and buy the life jackets accordingly. Some life jackets are probably the most common life jackets out there, most likely, because everybody has this kind of life jackets on your boat.

    While this life jacket will meet the carriage requirements required by law, it's not a very comfortable life jacket. So let's take a look at some of the other ones out there. There are jackets for kids in particular. You can see this one has a built-in collar flotation on it. Kids float differently than an adult, so they have different requirements for their life jackets.

    This one also has a crotch strap so that the life jacket can't ride up over their head. If you're a waterskiing enthusiasts or personal watercraft rider, you're probably familiar with a Type III jacket or just a regular foam jacket with belt buckles like this. For paddlers, canoers, and kayakers there are special jackets like this. This one is designed with wider armholes and it also has shortened flotation so that it won't ride up.

    This one also has a side entry to make it easier to get in and out of. For serious whitewater boaters there is even this heavy-duty model like this. Just about every boat needs a Type IV life jacket which is called a throw cushion or a throw ring, either way. There are even special life jackets for your pet, if you cruise with your pet.

    So now let's take a look at inflatable life jackets. Inflatable life jackets have been approved for a little bit over decade now and they are becoming increasingly more popular, and why wouldn't they? They're very comfortable to wear. Inflatables come in really two different types, over-the-shoulder and belt packs. So let's take a look at each.

    Over-the-shoulder jackets like this one are designed to go around your head and be buckled around your waist just like a foam jacket would. One of the nice features about this jacket is it has a visual indicator showing you that it's armed and ready to go. This is another over-the-shoulder model. It's a little bit more compact than the first one and it also comes with D rings for sailors. Sailors use these to clip in the life lines when they're going offshore.

    This model is a paddler's model. This one is designed to go over your shoulder again, but it rides a little bit differently and it has an inflation mechanism more like a belt pack. One of the convenient things about this is it comes with a little storage compartment that you can put, let's say, a camera or your wallet, or something like that in it.

    Probably, the most comfortable inflatable life jackets to wear are belt packs, like the one I'm wearing right now. This one is very comfortable easy to wear, but it's not of fanny pack. You always want to wear it in your front. One thing to remember about inflatable belt packs is that they're not really designed for people who don't swim well. They're a little bit more complicated to use. So if you're not a good swimmer, stick with an over-the-shoulder model. So that wraps up the life jacket topic. Let's move onto our next subject boating safety at the dock. See you there.