Care and Storage of your life jacket
How to Care for Your Life Jackets
- Stow life jackets in an accessible place. Life jackets that are stored far from where everyone sits, or under gear are virtually worthless in an emergency. The USCG requires that wearable life jackets be READILY ACCESSIBLE AT ALL TIMES. Also, on boats over 16 feet, at least one Type IV throw-able device must be IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE.
- All kids should wear a properly fitted and correctly sized, bright, life jacket. Adults, for that matter, should set the example for children by wearing a life jacket.
- Families should mark each life jacket with the person's name and store them facing up.
- Teach your children how to put on their life jackets. Make a game or race of putting a life jacket on. It's the best way for children--and adults, to learn how to don a life jacket quickly. To make it more difficult, try putting them on in the water--it is far harder than you might think!
- Check your life jackets at the beginning of each boating season.
- Check that all hardware and straps are in good shape, are firmly attached, and are in working order.
- Check for leaks, mildew, lumpy or hardened buoyancy material, & oil saturation in the fabric.
- Make sure that there are no rips or tears in the fabric.
- Make sure that the label stating USCG approval is attached, and that it is readable.
- Don't use a life vest or throwable flotation cushion as a kneeling pad or boat fender.
- Don't use harsh detergents or gasoline to clean it.
- Don't remove any labels, straps or buckles.
- Don't sew ANYTHING onto the life jacket.
The amount of buoyancy (and life-saving value) your life jacket provides will decrease over time.
- Store in an area with good ventilation.
- If wet, allow it to dry thoroughly in open air before storing.
- Drying it in a dryer, in front of a radiator, or other source of direct heat will destroy its buoyancy.
Treat your life jacket as if your life depends on it!