Testing life vests at a Safety-at-Sea Seminar funded by US Sailing. The life vest worn by the man in the foreground has successjully inflated and also it supplies plenty of buoyancy. Inflatable life vests are designed to immediately turn the wearer onto their back, maintaining a clear airmethod even if they are unaware. We also inflated a life raft in the pool and also exercised boarding, capsizing and righting the raft. We extremely recommend these seminars if you’re heading offshore.

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The guy in the foreground jumped in via a vest that was decaused simply to check out just how hard dental inflation is. Blowing air in orally took a long time and as the photo shows, the bladder has not been entirely inflated.

We choose inflatable life vests bereason they’re light and also comfortable, eliminating many type of excprovides for not wearing them. However before, they have to job-related reliably and that calls for a little of owner-maintenance. Unchoose standard, foam-filled vests, inflatables have actually several components that need to job-related together for the vest to feature and also that is doubly true for vests via automatic inflators and also security harnesses.

Checking Out Your Brand also New Vest

We recommfinish that the initially thing you carry out via a new vest—before taking it aboard—is to unfold and inflate it utilizing the dental inflation tube to be sure it has actually no leaks in the bladder and is safe to wear. Leave it inflated overnight. If it is still holding air the following day, deflate it, refold it and also use it through confidence. If the new vest won’t host air, rerotate it to us for a replacement. This test is exceptionally simple to perform and if you learn just how to execute this as soon as you obtain your vest, you won’t put it off once it’s time for the comprehensive inspection we’ll discuss later.

Regular Inspections When You Placed the PFD On

Check the exterior for abrasions, loose thread or other indicators of wear. Make a halittle bit of checking the Service Indicator that is visible inside the clear plastic window to make sure the status is green. Green indicates your PFD is equipped and also all set to inflate. Red indicates the vest deserve to just be manually inflated and also needs business. In that case, you"ll need a rearming kit.

Detailed Inspection

At least as soon as per year, preferably at the beginning of the boating season, you need to inflate your PFD and also go over the CO2 cylinder, the bobbin and any type of various other of the various pins or components that make it occupational. We recommend performing this inspection every 2 to 3 months if you wear your vest frequently, or if your boating location is warm and humid, because the inflation device might be subject to corrosion.

This time, unfold the vest and closely remove the CO2 cylinder and the bobbin. Check the bottom of the cylinder and also make sure it has not been punctured and also discharged and also that it does not show any type of damages. Check the day that is stamped on the bobbin (note that some vests, favor the Mustang models with the Hammar hydrostatic inflators, have actually the expiration date printed on the exterior of the inflator). If the bobbin is even more than three years old, acquire a new one regardless of how undamaged it shows up to look. Bobbins have to dissolve like an aspirin pill once they come in call via water, which is exactly how the gadget activates itself, so don’t mess about with out-of-date devices.

If your vest has actually a safety harness, inspect the stitching, check the D-ring that clips to your tether and also be certain the whistle is still present (as well as an operational strobe light, if you’ve set up one). Be sure the bladder is undamaged without tears or holes and that the oral inflating tube and reflective tape are in great shape.

Many vests have actually treatment instructions sewn inside the fabric cover that will cover all of this in information and also carry out the part number for the re-arming kit you might must purchase that will certainly contain the cylinder, bobbin and various other replacement components. Cylinders come in a range of sizes, diameters and also threview patterns particular to each model of life jacket. Some vests also need pins or “pills” to activate. Always usage the specific model of re-arming kit intended for your particular version of vest.


Single-allude visual inspection window on our West Maritime Coastal Automatic Inflatable vest. 1F type inflator. Green means the CO2 canister is charged and a bobbin is in place.

Inflate the vest, as prior to, with the dental inflation tube. Leave it inflated for at leastern 16 hrs. Consider giving the vest a quick wash in warmth soapy water, followed by a rinse through fresh water, specifically if you’re a salt-water boater, since salt is simply as gritty and also corrosive to life vests as to various other boating equipment. You can also perdevelop the leak test by submerging your vest in a bathtub or sink and also check it for pinhole leaks.

When you’ve finiburned, hang the vest approximately dry in a well-ventilated location that’s out of direct sunlight. After it dries, deflate it utilizing the small tool attached to the oral inflation tube, very closely squeezing out all the air so the gadget will fold compactly sufficient to fit back right into its cover. Then re-arm your PFD via the bobbin and CO2 cylinder (both of which have not yet reached their expiration dates) and re-pack the vest according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Now, via the Service Indicator showing green, you have the right to wear your life vest via confidence. The suggest of inflatable life vests, and what renders them worth these extra maintenance chores, is their comfort, light weight and ease of use. The ideal life vest, after all, is the one you will wear whenever before you’re on the water.