Life jackets are essential for safe sailing. Make sure you understand the difference between a lifejacket and a buoyancy aid. Lifejackets must comply with a standard and should be chosen with great care. It’s essential to avoid any confusion between lifejackets and buoyancy aids as the latter only help with buoyancy and consequently wearers must be able to swim. Lifejackets enable the person to be turned over on to their back so they can breathe if they are unconscious.
Every lifejacket sold in Europe must be compliant with the standard in force and bear the CE mark, proof that it has been tested and approved. Standards validate at least the buoyancy, indicated in Newton (N). Your lifejacket must be compliant with at least the 100 Newton standard and be equipped with a whistle and reflective strips to make it easier to locate you in case of an accident.
2. Types of Jackets
There are two types of life jackets: foam and inflatable. They are equally as effective, but inflatable jackets are recommended for regular use, as they provide greater freedom of movement. Foam jackets are just as effective as inflatable jackets. There are numerous models that differ in terms of their fastening systems.
In addition to choosing the type of jacket (foam or inflatable), you also need to take your weight into account. There are several sizes and it’s essential to choose the right size to ensure your jacket is as effective as possible.