It’s easy to inspect an inflatable life jacket. BoatUS Foundation shows you
4 Simple Steps to
Prep Your Inflatable Life Jacket for the Fall Boating Season
boating season has arrived, and with it comes cooler water temperatures. A fall
overboard can get serious quickly, and wearing a life jacket could give you
extra time to survive.
boaters have traditional floatation-filled life jackets, an increasing number
have switched to more modern inflatable life jackets, which require a little
preparation each year. If you haven’t inspected your inflatable life jacket and
it’s gone through a summer’s worth of hard boating, now is a good time to take
a close look at it.
quick four-step prep for your inflatable
life jacket from the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:
it up and look. Gently open the life jacket, usually by pulling
apart any hook-and-loop tape covers or flaps and then unfolding. Pay close
attention because repacking it is essentially the reverse of this process.
Inside you will find a thin-walled bladder, which is what keeps your head
above water when inflated, so take your time looking for any tears or
abrasions. Are the waist strap and all buckles in working condition?
the cartridge. Unscrew the CO2 cartridge and ensure it hasn’t been
discharged, sometimes indicated by a small puncture in the center of the
threaded end. Some inflators will have a green ready-to-go indicator.
Check the cartridge and inflation mechanism for corrosion. Some inflator
mechanisms have a little “pill” or “bobbin” that dissolves in water
allowing for automatic inflation. It should be in good shape. If not,
purchase a rearming kit.
for leaks. Using your mouth, blow up the life jacket using the manual-inflation tube
found on the upper left front of the life jacket. This tube may also be
used as a back up to fill the jacket with air in an emergency, so
familiarize yourself with how it works. Leave the fully inflated life
jacket alone for 24 hours to test for leaks.
- Repack. If, after the
time is up and the life jacket still holds air, deflate it and repack
according to the instructions, which usually can be found on an inside
flap. Now you’re ready for fall boating season!
information on the care of life jackets, go to BoatUS.org/Life-Jackets/Care.
To find which life jacket is right for you, check out a video here: https://youtu.be/iPdZVQ48fuE.
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