How to Maintain Your Life Jacket
After you’ve chosen the right flotation device for your needs, it’s important to keep it well maintained. There are two main types of personal flotation devices (PFDs): buoyancy aids and life jackets. See below for pointers on how to maintain your buoyancy aid and scroll further for information on maintaining life jackets.
Maintaining your buoyancy aid
Check the foam in your buoyancy aid on a regular basis for any sign of deterioration. If the foam is compressed, it loses its buoyancy. This compression will naturally happen over time, and when it does, it’s time to replace the jacket.
You can check the level of buoyancy by measuring the jacket’s displacement in water. Refer to ISO 12402 standards to find the correct weight to test your jacket. Do a visual check of the outer material, stitching, webbing, zippers, and buckles for signs of damage or wear.
Watch this video for pointers on maintaining your life jacket:
Maintaining your life jacket
Regularly inspect your life jacket for wear and tear. All life jackets require basic maintenance to work properly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in conjunction with annual service. When in doubt, take your jacket to the manufacturer’s recommended service agent for checking and repacking.
Do a visual check for wear and tear on webbing, stitching, zippers, buckles, and other fastenings.
Check all screw-in CO2 bottles for tightness as they can work themselves loose in life jackets. Be prepared by carrying rearming kits for each life jacket you have onboard. A life jacket can be accidentally inflated, so you want to be able to prepare it for use again immediately.
Check the CO2 bottle for corrosion and replace any corroded bottles. Also, check any areas of material that were in contact with a rough cylinder – the fabric may have been damaged.
Oral Inflate and Deflate
After orally inflating your life jacket, leave it inflated for 24 hours in a dry environment to ensure that it is not damaged or leaking. Repack your life jacket according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
A life jacket is only part of it, Stay Safe on the Water
When it comes to staying safe on the water, having the right safety equipment is only the first step. Learn more about water safety and test your own knowledge.