Inspecting Inflatable Life JacketsPublished: 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.
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.
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,” check to make sure the pill isn’t cracked, discolored, or damaged.
Leave Jacket Inflated For
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.
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.org
Inflatable life jackets can be lighter and easier to get around in, which can mean you'll be more likely to wear them
Type I, Type II, Type III: What's the difference?
Asked why they don't wear life jackets, boaters cite the cost and lack of comfort of current USCG-approved life jackets