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How To Choose A Life Jacket Or Personal Flotation Device
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Choosing a life jacket is an important decision. To make choosing your life jacket easier we have provided you with an outline of how life jackets are made and categorized. Please keep in mind that laws differ from state to state. It is worth your time to check your state life jacket requirements before you make a final choice.

To begin there are three styles of flotation device construction. Within each of these styles are five types of life jackets. Keep in mind not every type of personal flotation device is constructed in each of the three styles.

1) Inherently Buoyant is primarily made of foam, used by adults, youth, children, and infants, is designed for swimmers and non-swimmers, and is wearable and throwable. Includes Type I, II, III, IV, and V.

For minimum inherent buoyancy requirements for the sizing of adults to infants please refer to US Coast Guard guidelines at www.uscgboating.org.

(Buoyancy – the tendency of a body to float or rise when submerged in fluid, the power of a fluid to exert an upward force on a body placed in it. Inherent – involved in the constitution or essential character of something; built in. Definitions from www.merriam-webster.com). 2) Inflatable is made with an air bladder, most compact form of flotation, for adults only, recommended for swimmers only, wearable style only. Includes Type I, II, III, and V.

3) Hybrid is made from combination of foam and inflation, reliable for adults, youth and child, is designed for swimmers and non-swimmers, wearable style only. Includes Type II, III, and V.

The United States Coast Guard has categorized Life Jackets as follows: Type I Most buoyant – life jackets, life coats For offshore and rough water – expect extended time before recovery Will float unconscious victim in face-up position Use – Adults only

Type II Life Jacket For near shore use - Good chance of speedy rescue Will usually turn unconscious victim to face-up position

Type III Inland water conditions – specific activities such as fishing, kayaking Considered flotation aid – life vest, belts Holds victim in vertical position rather than face-up

Type IV Throw able flotation device Carried on commercial boats and used at swimming pools to throw to drowning person Recreational motor boats, paddle boats will use seat cushion style.

Type V Special Use and Hybrid Use for specific activities – hypothermia protection, etc.

Great! Now with this knowledge you can determine what style life jacket or personal flotation device you need so you may safely pursue you favorite water sport/activity. There are numerous shapes and colors to choose from as well as extras such as pockets, straps, holders, depending on what sport you will be participating in. Keep in mind that you want to wear your life jacket all day. Comfort and flexibility should be major considerations once you have determined the correct type from which to choose.

For further information on life jackets and water safety please contact Quality Life Jackets.


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