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December 22, 2020 6 min read

Are you an avid diver or a person who is interested in water sports? If yes, a serious question might strike your mind very often whenever you grab the water gear in your hand. Life jackets one among them and it is vital to you on the water. The question is: Do life jackets expire? This question arises as you use the life jacket very often on the water. Yes, all the material loses its value as the day passes on and use by the person.


Do Life Jackets Expire?

 A life jacket is one among them and hence the expiry question would trigger your mind. A close inspection of your jacket would give you a clue about your thoughts. Your inspection of the jacket would tell you the answer like does it serve the expectations or damaged and unfit for your next trip. Whatever the reason, the expiry date of the jacket is not available technically. Many people or divers or swimmers would not have thought about the expiry feature of the life jacket until they see some changes in it. Shall I ask an experienced or an expert about the expiry of the life jacket? Technically speaking, life jackets do not have any expiry date except common wear and tear.


There are some views about the types of life jackets used by a professional. In common, there are two types of jackets available on the market namely foam and inflatable life jackets. Among these two types, foam type does not have any expiry date in common. Our common sense would judge the situation of any jackets after prolonged use on the water. Practically saying, these jackets do have any label on them proclaiming the date of expiry. So, you need not feel tight and constantly worrying about its expiry feature like other products. As long as you use the life jacket properly as per recommendations and tips, your product lasts longer than expected.


Inflatable Life Jackets


Many researchers in the diving profession and swimming activity say that life jackets may last for ten years maximum if properly used and maintained. In case you are using an inflatable type of jacket, keep a close mind on changing the CO2 cartridge. These customers who use inflatable type should check the tank replacement date at regular intervals. Also, regular eye on the corrosion issue of the tank. So, these points give an idea about the expiry of life jackets for us to understand the basics. Yes, it is pretty clear that there is no fixed expiry date for the life jacket you use because most of the life jackets have a prolonged life span on proper use.


Wear and Tear Is Common

We should not forget some important points on using the life jacket. The common disadvantage of a life jacket is its usefulness feature might get decreased as you use it for many years on the water. The serviceable lifespan is proportionate to your period of use. Hence, you can understand now speaking about the expiry of the life jacket does not mean the product works for you even if you do not value it. More you maintain more life and it is applicable to your life jacket too. Specifically, if we speak about foam life jackets it's buoyancy force gets decreased due to contact wear. You might not have the same performance after several years of using the life jacket due to its wear and tear feature.


How Often to Replace One?

How long are life jackets good for? Before asking this question do think about yourself about using the life jacket in your life. Do you give proper care and maintenance to your life jacket? Why I am asking this question because you can understand the importance of a life jacket only at the time of less performance of your life jacket. Yes, you might come across some situations in your life where your life jacket's buoyancy is not up to the level of expectations. The reason is not alone attributed to your wear and tear, but maintenance matters a lot. You can recollect how you have handled the life jacket after use. Did you maintain it properly as experts said? the answer to this question is NO.


I do not want to say that life jacket does work for you infinitive, but you can prolong the use further if properly maintained and cleaned. You should understand that the life jacket has finite lives like other products. So, immense care matters for your life jacket and so you have to be very cautious and careful when you lead your life.


Let me give some instances below where your focus and attention are missing:

  • After a vigorous water trip, the person might have the habit of throwing the life jacket at a corner. It might be kept idle for many days without any attention.
  • Even some people keep it at the back of the boat or at the bottom.
  • So, an unattended jacket gets spoiled and even mildew forms in it thereby damaging the jacket entirely.


When we look into the activities of the customers who use life jackets it is very clear that many of them are not properly taking care of the product and hence the longevity period is affected. By this, we can understand that the expiry of the product is proportional to our personal care and attention. So, the expiry date is decided by us and not the product. Ok, the question when we have to replace the jacket? Is there any time gap for doing the same task?


One important thing you must note is that the damaged or altered conditions of the life jacket do not fit your expectations of water trips. The damaged product is said to be void and does not give you the exact requirement which you prefer. So, an approved and guaranteed life jacket is a must for your water trip. Everyone who sails in your boat should wear authentic and certified life jackets forever to protect themselves.


You should come to a conclusion or final decision of throwing your personal floatation device out or discarded only if it does not fulfill your basic water journey to any extent. A decreased buoyancy force in the water is a clear indication of the failure of your life jacket. The moment you understand that your product does not work in the water you have to consider replacing it with another good product immensely. Never play with your life if you understand that your personal floatation device is not up to the mark of life-saving. In case you are the captain of the boat take abundant measures for your customers who sail in the boat by supplying them only good products to float.


Test the Life Jackets to Your Personal Needs

A perfect life jacket has to make you afloat on the water by your head out of it. You can consider the experts' recommendations and tips for testing the worth of your Life Jacket. There is a test to decide the efficiency of the product by the professionals. So, follow them and check the jacket's worth to decide to replace the product or keeping it with you. The major parameter which decides the worth is that the life jacket has to keep the chin above the water. Also, you have to breathe easily after wearing the life jacket in the water. If these activities are perfect then you can continue wearing the personal floatation device without any stop. One more thing is that you should remain afloat on the water irrespective of the swimming positions. On the whole, you have to be comfortable with your device on the water, and if any inconvenience is found simply put it at the go down and start searching a good device for your water trip.


Expiry Symptoms

When do you say your life jacket is expired? It is very simple to answer because it is very transparent when you feel, see, and find it unworthy on the water. Yes, your personal floatation device which we mean life jacket might get soggy, and ripped at one point in your life. Simply, it becomes nonfunctional on the whole for your use on the water. This is the correct time to say that your life jacket gets expired and it is the right time to replace it with another fresh one. Some professionals say that ten years is the maximum period for a life jacket as we discussed above. However, many customers are using the device for more than ten years due to their brilliance and utmost care of the product.



As long as it works normally without any defect for you on the water, come and go on without a stop. Pay your attention like your wife give it life so that it saves you during your water journey. I hope you can understand the question How Often to Replace One now. If the testing results and personal feel of a customer are satisfactory then you can proceed further without any worry about the expiry of a life jacket.


Also of Interest: 

Liz H.
Liz H.

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