Life Jacket Safety Tips

boy wearing properly fitting life jacket while paddle boarding

When it comes to staying safe on the water, wearing a life jacket is the best thing you can do. Whether you are enjoying a day boating on Lake Gaston or swimming near the docks, make sure to always have a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket will save you from drowning. Learn about life jacket safety tips to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable day on the water.


Life Jacket Safety Tips


Who Needs To Wear A Life Jacket?


Everyone on a boat needs to have a life jacket available and easily accessible. People who are not strong swimmers should wear one any time they are near water. Federal and North Carolina state law requires that children under 13 years of age must wear a life jacket on boats that are under way. People riding a personal watercraft, like a jet ski, or are in-tow require a life jacket. The simple answer is that everyone needs to have a life jacket available when they are near water. If you are renting a boat on Lake Gaston, make sure there are enough life jackets for everyone on-board.


Make Sure They Are the Correct Type


There are many different types of life jackets. The most commonly used are Types I, II, and III. Type III life jackets as also call “ski vests”. They are comfortable to wear and offer around 15.5 pounds of buoyancy. The average adult only needs 8 to 13 pounds of buoyancy to keep their head above water. Personal flotation devices are helpful but everyone on a boat needs some type of life jacket.


Properly Size Your Life Jacket


One of the most important life jacket safety tips is to wear the correct size life jacket. Each jacket will have a label indicating the average sizes. Sizing takes into consideration chest size and weight. Properly fitting jackets will be secure and comfortable. Each life jacket can be adjusted, so make sure the fit is snug but not too tight. An improperly fitted life jacket can result in the wearer slipping out of it and will create a dangerous situation. Before setting off on your day, put on the life jacket and test it in the water with supervision. The life jacket should not rise above the wearer’s ears or chin.


Inspect for Quality, Damage, and Buoyancy


Test the buoyancy of the life jacket to ensure it is not damaged or worn out. After a certain period of time, life jackets lose their buoyancy and should be replaced. Make sure the straps and buckles are in good condition and remain secure. If you find that your life jacket is damaged or showing signs of fatigue, swap it out for a newer one.


If you are renting a boat on Lake Gaston or just enjoying a day of swimming, we hope you stay safe with our life jacket safety tips. Eaton Ferry Marina can help you choose the right life jacket to stay safe. We are a full-service marina on Lake Gaston specializing in boat rentals, boat storage, and anything else needed for a great day on the lake!

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