Lifejacket Servicing

Does my non-inflatable lifejacket need to be serviced?

When not using your life jacket (when you’re not boating), store it in a readily accessible place away from sunlight and chemicals. Nylon and other synthetic materials used to make your life jacket will be harmed over time by ultra-violet radiation from the sun. Fabric that becomes discoloured may indicate ultra-violet damage. In other words, don’t leave your lifejacket hanging outside all summer exposed to the sun and expect it to be unharmed. Also, prolonged exposure to chemicals or exhaust fumes can attack the flotation’s foam.

Does my inflatable lifejacket need to be serviced?

Your inflatable lifejacket should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. Most manufacturers will supply self servicing details about their respective brand’s requirements. Never attempt to repair your lifejacket, you should see the local service agents.

This list of websites below will be useful when checking self servicing requirements of your lifejackets.

Proper fitting of  a lifejacket is so important.

click on image

Working in pairs, have one person (A) stand behind the other person (B) and test the life jacket for proper fit. While person B puts his arms straight overhead person A should grasp the tops of person B’s arm openings and gently pull up. As shown in the illustration, excess room above the arm openings and the life jacket “riding up” over the chin and face are signs of a “bad fit.” A snug fit in these areas represents a “good fit.”

A proper fit means once it’s zippered and/or buckled, it should keep your head and upper shoulders above the water. If it fits too loose, the flotation will push the jacket up around your face. If your life jacket is too small, it won’t keep your body afloat.

*A child is difficult to float in a face up position because of the distribution of body mass and because the child tends to panic in an unfamiliar environment. The violent movement of the arms and legs in an attempt to ‘climb out’ of the water tends to nullify the stability of the lifejacket. A properly designed lifejacket of the correct size will, however, keep a child’s mouth and nose clear of the water. A child should be taught how to put on the device and should be allowed to try it out in the water. It is important that the child feels comfortable and knows what the lifejacket is for and how it functions. Parents should note, however, that a lifejacket is not a substitute for competent supervision.

Take care of your life jacket–it’s your lifeline.

*editorial contribution: Ultra PFD Australia