5 common mistakes when choosing a lifejacket

1. thinking all lifejackets and pfds are the same.

There are many lifejackets and PFDs available for use for different water-related activities. Ensuring that you have the right lifejacket for the activity you are participating in is key to being safe out on the water.  Click here to find out how to choose the right lifejacket for you. 

2. Choosing the wrong size.

Buying a lifejacket in hopes that your child will "grow into it" is something we often hear among parent groups. Choose a PFD that is comfortable and allows free movement, including walking and sitting. Try it on and do up all zippers and belts. Pull up on the collar to ensure it does not ride up and interfere with movement or breathing.

3. Not wearing your lifejacket or PFD correctly.

Loosening the straps or removing the lifejacket entirely reduces its effectiveness. Purchase a comfortable lifejacket or PFD and ensure to WEAR IT

4. Not maintaining or storing your lifejacket properly.

Treat your flotation device as an investment and take good care of it. Devices that are ripped or in poor condition are not considered approved.

Lifesaving equipment should never be kneeled on, sat on, or used as a fender for your boat. Follow these tips:

  • Check its buoyancy regularly by wading out to waist-deep water and bending your knees to see how well you float.
  • Ensure that straps, buckles, and zippers are clean and in good working order.
  • Tug on straps to ensure they are well attached with no sign of wear.
  • Dry your device in open air and avoid direct heat sources.
  • Store it in a dry, well-ventilated, easily accessible place.
  • Do not dry clean. Use mild soap and running water to clean.

5. Substituting a lifejacket for adult supervision

Lifejackets do not replace attentive supervision, but will keep a toddler or young child at the surface - which may give parents the seconds they need to save a life. Click here to learn more about water safety tips for young children.