Imagine 1912, the year the Titanic sank. What if the life vest had been invented (it wasn’t invented until 16 years later, in case you didn’t know) and each person had their own. Imagine how the outcome of the tragedy would have been changed and how many lives could have potentially been saved.
In a bid to curtail the number of deaths from drowning, a man called Peter Markus went to work, and in 1928, he invented the first life vest. Over the years, the technology of making these life vests has been greatly improved upon leading to the availability of a wide range of options for a wide range of functions.
In the life vest industry, it’s usually a “one-size-fits-all” affair, except when it is considerably smaller for kids. You should also bear in mind that there are different kinds of life vests for different occasions and different water bodies. So, determine what your adventure is going to be, is it deep sea fishing
? Or kayaking on a shallow river? Or water skiing on the ocean? After deciding upon your adventure you can get an appropriate life vest suited for that experience. If you can’t seem to make up your mind, then you can go for a versatile life vest to ward off any uncertainties you might have.
To aid buoyancy in water, life vests are made with foam. These foams differ in quality, even though ultimately, they keep you afloat. Any life vest that is worth its salt and must be able to keep you afloat (it’s called a “life” vest for a reason) in addition to protecting your body from the risk of hypothermia.
To ensure that your life vest will actually guarantee life and not death, you might want to go for vests that are approved by the U.S Coast Guard (USCG). That way, your mind can be at ease on your fishing or boating expedition
. Please, note that life vests aren’t meant for swimming novices alone, even professional swimmers should wear them too. Accidents happen and they aren’t ours to control either, so it’s better to err on the side of caution than play dice with the “forces that be”.
If you’re deathly scared of water and a kayaking adventure
is still on your bucket list, then like Nike, “just do it!” but do it with a life vest. You will have fun, and if the unexpected happens, the vest will float you right back up. Life vests are quite secure and comfortable. They come complete with safety belts that hold the vest together so they don’t come apart with the water currents. So, you’re safe!
There are actually laws that demand that a boat carry a PFD for every one person traveling in it. Please, be assertive about your safety the next time you go boating. Demand a life vest. It’s your right. Now, more on the features you should look out for when scouting for a life vest…
A life vest won’t be an item that will break your budget. $15 to $50 should be enough to land yourself a solid life vest. The ones that are higher up the price scale are usually so because they have more detailing in design and sometimes a better quality of foam material. All vests reviewed in this article offer value, so budget or high end, you’re safe. On the other hand, anything lower down this price range is a cheap life vest that you should disregard. Your precious life and those who love you are worth much more than the little extra you would be spending to get a better life vest; think about it!
You can hardly get it wrong with a life vest but here are some points to note about their features. Here they are:
- Safety belt
- USCG approval
So, how do all these relate?
Construction and Design
Like we said earlier, life vests are made with foam (polyester, cross-tech) to increase buoyancy in water and floating. They are equally made of tough material that are resistant to wear and tear which means that your life vest can last for a long time. You might not even ever have to replace them.
Some brands make their life vests with a triple, double or single lock system, but all life vests, as a matter of necessity, come with safety belts. For life vests, most times, it’s “one size fits all” so sizing might not really be a bother except when you’re looking for something for a child. There are life vests that are especially made for children which come in attractive colors and styles that are different from adult life vests.
Some brands also offer different types of life vests for different genders. So, you can find life vests unique to men, women, or even boys, and girls. Of course these life vests are color-coded, so you find that the female vests come in pink, buttery yellow, and other soft hues, while the male vests come in more masculine colors like blue and other darker hues. As a rule, though, life jackets come boldly colored for speedier rescue response, in case of an incident.
Adult life vests are generally of one size as we have pointed out earlier, and it helps, of course, that straps are adjustable. So whatever your chest size, you can always adjust your life vest for a perfect fit.
Performance and Ease of Use
What many people do not know about life vests and what we haven’t mentioned here yet is that life vests do much more than keep you afloat. Imagine you get lost at sea, without a life vest, your chances of dying triples even if you’re a strong swimmer. This is because there’s the hypothermia to deal with (an ocean is colder than your sub-zero freezer) and then again, sooner or later, your strength will fail and you might drown if help doesn’t come fast enough.
What a life vest does is to help preserve your body heat so you don’t die or slip into a coma from hypothermia. It also keeps your head above water, so it’s dry enough to hold in your body heat.
Another different scenario: an individual falls suddenly into water during an excursion on a yacht. The normal human body reaction to that is to “fight!” This is very normal whether you’re naturally panicky or calm, not to mention that it proves that you’re human, not a fish. Now, with a life vest, that individual floats upwards immediately so s/he can buy some time to adjust to the idea and think straight without the risk of drowning when s/he kicks.
Contrary to what you might think, the bright colors of life jackets are not just there to make a fashion statement. They really are a huge part of your saving grace. If a life vest isn’t brightly colored enough, rescue teams might not come quickly enough, since you won’t be easily spotted as you bob along, especially if the rescue team is flying overhead.
Generally, the most difficult feature to use on a life vest is the thick zipper that is included in addition to the traditional safety belts. But then again, anything for double or even triple assurance of survival is totally welcome, don’t you think?
Now that you have finished reading this buying guide, you probably have a clearer idea as to the type of life vest you really need. We have reviewed some of the best life vests available and we are confident that one or two of them will meet your needs. We invite you to pay attention to the features of the following life vests as reviewed by us.
Thank you for taking time to go through these reviews. We trust that you now have the information you need to pick the right life vest for you. You can now place that order.