Lifejackets are a vital piece of safety equipment for any recreational boater, and they’re not the bulky, cumbersome style of jacket you might think.
Better design and technology has led to a range of lifejacket styles that look good, are easy to wear and don’t get in the way of your favourite activity on the water. In fact, there’s a style of jacket for just about every activity and body shape.
Not wearing a lifejacket can have serious consequences. Sadly, 8 out of 10 people who drowned in NSW while boating were not wearing a lifejacket. It is strongly recommended that you always wear one.
A vest should be as snug as possible while remaining comfortable; remember, it will stretch out when it gets wet. Your life jacket should be snug — real snug. When you wear a properly fitted vest, it should be hard to breathe when you’re in it, think of your life jacket as a second skin. You don’t want any air between you and the jacket, because that air can cause bruised ribs when you take a fall. Also, consider that most jackets have a tendency to stretch when wet. When you take a plunge, you don’t want your jacket 3 inches off your shoulder and halfway up your face. Just keep in mind that a jacket may feel much more restricting in the store. “If it has a zipper on the front, you should have to stretch it to get it to zip up, it shouldn’t come together easily and zip up without any effort. Ultimately, it’s important that your new life jacket passes the test of tightness.