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How to Remove a Knife from a PFD Lash Tab

Most life jackets have one or more lash tabs sewn onto them. While you can affix other things like strobe lights to them, the most common use is for attaching a knife sheath.

It’s relatively easy to install a sheath, but trickier to remove one, say to transfer the knife to another life jacket. You need to be careful; if you break the lash tab you can’t repair it. In this video, we show you the proper removal technique.

The tab on knife sheaths that slips into the lash tab has a security lip to prevent the sheath from accidentally slipping out. To safely remove the sheath, this security feature has to be defeated. The tool of choice tor this procedure is the household butter knife. The blade is thin, flexible and smooth, making it perfect for the job.

Keep in mind when doing this you don’t want to damage either the lash tab or the clip on the sheath. Use finesse, don’t force anything.

Start the procedure by removing the knife from the sheath. Push the sheath all the way onto the lash tab, pushing that security lip farthest away from the lash tab edge. Then slide the butter knife over the lip on the clip and gently maneuver the blade down along the length of the clip. This raises the lash tab a bit and makes a smooth ramp for sliding the sheath off of the jacket.

Words of wisdom about having a knife on the outside of your life jacket. Pro: It makes the knife easily accessible. Con: The knife and sheath are vulnerable to snagging on objects. This seems to happen more often to rafters, but it can occur with anybody in the rough-and-tumble of boating. Sheath clips on NRS knives are designed to break before tearing the lash tab on an expensive life jacket. Torn lash tabs cannot be replaced. If this snagging becomes an issue, your alternative is to carry a folding knife in a life jacket pocket.