Do You Wear A Proper Fitting Life Jacket?

National Drowning Prevention Week this year is July 17 – 23. And as most of us head to some form of water to cool off, wearing a life jacket is important. 

As we all know, keeping you afloat with your head out of the water is a lifejacket’s primary function. It can also provide limited torso warmth, and a bright-colored vest may add in being seen by rescuers.

However, we often forget that a proper fit is key to a life jacket performing as designed. If it’s too small, you won’t stay afloat; if too large, it will ride up over your face or otherwise reposition.

It should be snug, like a glove, yet flexible enough to go through multiple motions for your particular water activity.

For adults, chest measurement is the critical factor in sizing. The length, placement and number of straps are key considerations in determining the proper size to wear. Youth/children/infants, are separate, distinct categories – weight is the most important consideration. Special head flotation support, strap and grab loop are added features of a children/infants life jacket.

Here’s how to determine a proper fit:

  • Put on and zipper up;
  • Snug up waist strap first
  • Snug up side/torso straps
  • Cinch down and snug shoulder straps.
  • Make initial comfort strap adjustments
  • Raise arms up over head, have associate grab top of arm openings and gently pull upward – if the jacket rises up into mouth/ears area readjust and try again, or select a different size jacket.
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