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November 21, 2020 6 min read

Life jackets are some flotation devices worn by people so that they can stay afloat while in the water. Life jackets are among the essential pieces of equipment that have saved so many human beings' lives for so many years during water accidents. Whenever you are in the water, your boat can capsize, and no matter how you are experienced in swimming, the chances are that you could drown at any time. However, any person wearing a life jacket and happens to fall when overboard, the chances of survival are very high since the life jackets have been known to save such people's lives. Therefore, ensure that you wear a life jacket anytime when you are in the water. Do not store it waiting for the right time to wear it, always have it on since you do not know when the boat you are using will capsize.


How Do Life Jackets Work?

This is a question that usually raises so much concern to people, especially if they do not know why they are supposed to wear life jackets when they are in the water. However, anyone who knows the working principle of the life jackets will never ask this question. The following working principle of a life jacket will answer the question of how life jackets work?


Life jackets are approximately ten times lighter than anyone who is wearing them. This is to make sure that they keep them above water without sinking under any circumstances. This is because the life jackets will produce what is known as buoyancy.


The amount of weight always determines the buoyancy of any substance that it is displacing. Therefore, the more the weight that a body is displaced, the more buoyancy it will generate. When you are in the water, your body displays the water amount equal to your body weight. This is why you will sink when you are in the water if you do not have a life jacket.


On the other hand, the life jacket is made of a very light material, which makes it easy to display an amount of weight that is ten times lighter compared to your weight. This is what makes you float in the water. Your body will also create some buoyant force when you are in the water that will tend to push you upwards. Therefore, your body will be helping the life jacket support your weight producing a more buoyant force that will keep you afloat in the water. This will prevent you from sinking and will make sure that you are safe in the water.


Types of Life Jackets

There are different types of life jacketsthat you can buy when you spend some time in the water. Every kind of life jacket that you buy will have a unique way it works, and hence you have to be very keen whenever you are purchasing your life jackets. The following are the main types of life jackets;

  • Offshore life jackets
  • Nearshore buoyancy vest
  • Flotation aid
  • Throwable life jackets
  • Special use life jackets


Offshore Life Jackets

The offshore life jackets are known for being the most buoyant life jackets that you can get. This type of life jacket has the capability of turning any wearer who is unconscious of facing up when they are in the water. Therefore, it's mainly used by people who are boating or swimming in very rough water conditions. As the name suggests, the offshore life jackets are worn when you are boating in distances that are far from the shore where the rescue teams would take time to save you. You need to know about this life jacket because it is larger and a bit heavier than other life jackets, making some people feel uncomfortable when they are wearing them.


Offshore Life Jackets


Nearshore Life Jackets

The nearshore life jacket is supposed to be worn when the water is calm, and unlike the offshore life jacket, the wearer should boat very close to the shore. The nearshore life jacket comes in different sizes. When you have an inflatable version of the nearshore life jackets, this life jacket can turn you to face up, preventing you from drowning when you are unconscious.


Floating Life Jackets

The floating life jacket is worn by people who are participating in different water sports. They come in different styles, sizes, and colors. The floating life jacket is also used when in the inland waters that are calm. Like the other life jackets, they turn wearers to face up, but it is always best for the wearers using the floating life jacket to tilt the head back since the face can flip down.



Throwable Life Jackets

Throwable life jackets are very different from other life jackets. This is because they are not meant for wearing when you are boating, but instead, they are thrown to the people who fall overboard. The Throwable life jackets can be worn when you are boating, anywhere, but it is recommendable that wear them when you are in the calm waters where you have rescue teams at all the time. For the person in the water to remain afloat, they must hold onto the Throwable life jacket. The Throwable life jackets have holding brackets that enable you to float freely in the water when your boat sinks.


Special Use Life Jackets

The special use life jacket like the floatation life jacket is mainly for people taking part in water sports. They are uniquely designed such that they inflate automatically when the wearer enters the water. They are also very comfortable for any wearer.


Choosing the Right Life Jackets

Having a life jacket in the water can be a significant thing since it increases your survival chances. However, you have to know that your survival rates are very minimal if you do not have the right life jackets. Therefore, you have to ensure that as you buy your life jacket, you take your time to select the right life jacket. For you to choose the right life jacket, there are several things that you should have in mind. Some of them include;


The Size of the Life Jacket

Life jackets come in different sizes. Some are large, while some are small. You have to ensure that you consider the size of the life jacket you are selecting since it determines your survival chances. The size of the life jacket that you choose should be fitting, and this is why you have to maintain accurate measurements to acquire the proper size. Your chest measurement is the most crucial measurement when choosing the size of the life jacket that you will buy.


Intended Use

People are in the water for different reasons. Some get life jackets since they are participating in water sport activities while others are boating. Therefore, you have to be very keen on the intended use of the life jacket that you are buying to select the life jacket that will be right for you. You do not want to buy a life jacket that will not keep you safe when you are in the water.

As you consider the life jacket's intended use, know how far you will be boating and the type of water conditions you love. These two things will help you in determining the life jackets that would be perfect for you. In simple terms, the life jacket's intended use will determine the life jacket that will be best for you.


Materials Used

Whenever you are buying your life jacket, you have to check on the type of material used to make the life jacket. This is to ensure that you select the material that is light and is friendly to your skin. This is because the material used in making the life jacket you buy can cause some skin irritation whenever you wear your life jacket. PVC is one of the common materials in more life jackets since it is strong, making it more durable. It also withstands temperatures, but you can also get some life jackets made of foam, among other materials.


Inflatability of the Life Jacket

Inflatable life jackets will inflate when they are submerged in the water, and therefore they are very comfortable, not to mention very light. You have to make sure that you find out whether the life jacket you select can inflate quickly or not. This will determine your safety when your boat capsizes. However, inflatable life jackets tend to be more expensive as compared to others.


Additional Features

It is also necessary for you to check on the additional features that your chosen life jacket has. Some of the additional features you should always check include better ventilation, loops, tool hangers, reflective tape, and pockets.


Colour of the Life Jacket

The color of the life jacket that you choose is essential since it determines your visibility when floating in the water. You have to ensure that you select the life jacket color that will make you visible from far so that anyone using the waters or the rescue team can see you from far.



Choosing the right life jackets may seem very easy but very many people choose the wrong life jackets. This is why you have to let the above factors guide you as you choose your life jackets.


Also of Interest: 


Liz H.
Liz H.

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