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Four Steps to Choosing the Right Life Jacket

Make no mistake about it – summer is the most popular season for boating, both here in the Rogue Valley and at any boating destination you choose. No matter whether you’re fishing, leisure cruising, sport boating, or on official business, increased water traffic makes boating accidents more likely during the summer than any other time of year. Fortunately, taking the proper safety precautions can help prevent accidents – and help ensure your safety should the worst happen.

One of the simplest things you can do to keep yourself and your passengers safe in the event of rough waters or boating mishaps is to wear a life jacket. However, proper life jacket fitting takes a bit more foresight than simply choosing a product off the shelf. Follow these simple tips to choose the right life jacket for you and any of your frequent passengers:

  1. Look for the USCG stamp. To be legal, all life jackets on board must be US Coast Guard approved. You can usually find the stamp on the inside of the life jacket, next to the tag or printed sizing information.
  2. Choose a style. While there are a few different styles of life jackets, the one that works the best for universal applications is the vest style. Manufactured for either water sports or fishing, vests automatically turn the wearer face-up while in the water and require little effort to remain floating. However, if you frequently operate your boat in remote locations, you may want to choose an offshore-style life jacket.
  3. Get a correct fit. Life jackets are available in a wide range of sizes – choose those that match your and your passengers’ age, height, and weight. Once you put the jacket on, tighten the straps so they are snug and allow freedom of motion. If too loose or too big, the life jacket will float up around your face; if too small, the life jacket won’t keep you afloat.
  4. Look for signs of excess wear. If you have an older life jacket or have purchased a used jacket, ensure all closures work properly. In addition, check for rips and tears, and discard any waterlogged, molded, or mildewed life jackets.

Remember – all passengers under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket at all times, as required by law. However, it’s just good safety practice to wear a life jacket any time you’re on your boat. For more information about Rogue Valley boating or aluminum jet boats, contact Rogue Jet Boats today.