BoatUS Foundation For Boating Safety & Clean Water


Inspecting Inflatable Life Jackets

Published: June/July 2014

Here's what you need to do every two to three months and at the beginning of your boating season to make sure your life jacket will still work properly when you need it.

Illustration of visual inspection of life jacket

Visually Inspect Jacket

Check the life jacket for rips, tears,
holes, broken buckles, etc.

Illustration of orally inflating life jacket

Orally Inflate ...

Even automatically triggered life jackets have an orange inflation tube at the front upper left of the jacket. In an emergency, you can use it to inflate the jacket if the CO2 fails, and for testing, you can use it to make sure the jacket holds air when inflated.

Illustration of CO2 trigger and cartridge on life jacket

Visually Inspect CO2 Trigger And Cartridge

Inspect cartridge to ensure that it hasn’t been discharged; inspect inflator for corrosion and serviceability. If the life jacket is automatically triggered by a dissolving pill or bobbin, check to make sure the pill isn’t cracked, discolored, or damaged.

Illustration of leaving life jacket inflated

Leave Jacket Inflated For
16-24 Hours

Inflate for 16 to 24 hours to ensure that it holds air. You can also immerse the life jacket to check for leaks in it or in the manual inflation tube.

Illustration of repacking life jacket

If Jacket Holds Air, Repack And Use It!

Frequent inspection of your jacket can save your life! For specific information, refer to your life jacket owner’s manual. For general life jacket information please visit www.BoatUS.orgEnd of story marker



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