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How to Choose the Right Life Jacket

Choosing a good-fitting life jacket that’s designed for the type of boating you do is important for your safety. Whether you are kayaking, rafting, canoeing, fishing or stand up paddling, there’s a US Coast Guard-approved PFD that’s just right for you. In this video, we go over the types of life jackets most commonly worn by boaters and help you choose the right life jacket, so you’ll be comfortable wearing it the entire time you’re on the water.

Remember, the best life jacket is the one you’re wearing when you need it. Please wear yours at all times when you’re on the water. The life jacket is your #1 boating safety accessory. All life jackets should have the US Coast Guard Approval, or that of the government or approval agency in your country or region. This video refers to USCG jacket types.

For paddling and rafting, Type III and Type V jackets are most commonly used. Type III jackets provide a minimum of 15.5 pounds of buoyancy. They come in many different designs and are what most recreational boaters choose. Type V jackets are ones designed for a specific purpose. They include rescue jackets, inflatables and jackets for use by customers of commercial outfitters.

We divide most of our life jackets into three categories. High Profile jackets have more flotation, 22–27 pounds, and are good for folks boating big water and for some non-swimmers. The extra foam flotation adds bulk, which may not make them suitable for some boaters.

Medium Profile jackets generally have 16–18 pounds of flotation, with less bulk than High Profile models. They work well for the majority of paddlers.

Low Profile jackets also have 16–18 pounds of flotation, which is concentrated in smaller areas. The panels are thicker, cover less of the torso area and provide excellent arm mobility.

There is a life jacket for you that is comfortable for all-day wear, with the features you need for your boating. Feel free to reach out to our customer service team for help in making your choice. Then always wear it while you’re on the water. We want you to be safe out there!