Tips for a Properly Fitting Life Jacket.
A life jacket or PFD (personal flotation device) is made according to a person’s size, weight, gender and boating activity (wakeboarding, skiing, kayaking, etc.). Every life jacket manufacturer has its own sizing system, and it’s crucial to confirm sizing before purchasing any brand of a life jacket. And of course, always try on a vest to be sure it fits before you hit the water.
Below are tips to make sure you have a properly fitting life jacket:
1. Check the life jacket label for the appropriate weight or chest size. The label located on the inside of the like jacket will indicate the size and weight of the intended user. The user must be within the intended range. Note, If you are over 6ft tall, it is recommended that you wear a tall-fitting life jacket.
2. Buckle all straps and tighten or zip up all zippers. Make sure all straps can be buckled, and zippers zipped. If the jacket can not be fully fastened, then you will require a different size or brand.
3. If you can put more than 3 finger-widths in the gap between your shoulders and the shoulder area of the life vest, your life jacket is too big. That jacket will not keep your head above water.
4. Once the jacket “appears” secure, the user should lift their arms overhead. If the jacket rides up to your ears, it is too big.
It is absolutely essential to make sure that everyone on your boat has a life jacket that fits them properly BEFORE you leave the shore.
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