Tips for Choosing the Right Life Jacket for You and Your Pooch

Personal floatation devices (PFDs) help keep you safe and stay afloat in the water. These safety gears might be bulky or warm to wear, but they might be the only thing that keeps you from harm and saves your life, especially when you’re out in the cold.

Also known as life jackets, these devices come in various colours, sizes, types, and features. Each gear is designed to add buoyancy to a man’s, woman’s, child’s, and even a dog’s weight in the water.

Everyone should wear PFDs when they’re in open waters or in the ocean. Each member of a boating, waterskiing or other water-based sports team should wear one that would fit according to their needs. Children and weak swimmers must also wear these gears in water parks or pools.

With the numerous options available in the market, the jacket you choose must be approved by your local coast guard and tested by underwater laboratories. In addition, here are some tips to ensure that you pick the right jacket that will fit you and your activity:

For Adults:

  • Get the right size for you:

The golden rule is that your chest size determines the size of your jacket. Measure your chest’s circumference at its broadest point and compare it with the gear’s label to find your size.

The gear that perfectly fits you should snugly wrap you up but should still be comfortable enough to allow you to move or play in.

  • Some additional tips:

  • To check the fit:

Ask someone to pull up the shoulders of your jacket. The fit is okay when the gear moves up over your nose or head, and you can still tighten the PFD straps then. But when the jacket still moves up when you recheck the fit after all the adjustments, you should replace it with a bigger one.

  • For better fits:
  • You can customize your PFD with more straps to adjust to your preference.
  • PFDs designed for women also have contoured cups to accommodate the busts and are even appropriate for the usual length of a female torso.
  • To get the best feel:
  • When trying on a PFD, you should wear everyday clothes or apparel you use for your water activity.
  • Try to mimic paddling or kayaking and sitting and standing up while wearing the gear to ensure that your desired movements are still possible.
  • You can also test the PFD in shallow waters or pools, if possible, to ensure that it doesn’t slip up or go over your chin, thus making you have to choose another fit.

For Dogs:

There are water sports equipment stores that sell life jackets for dogs. Although dogs inherently know how to swim and are even good at it, some get scared and panic, especially when they are just getting introduced to the water. These customized jackets for your fur-baby can also be their lifesavers and help them enjoy the relaxing waters with you.

  • To get the suitable PFD for your dog:
  • Ensure that the gear snuggly fits the entire body so that it won’t slip out regardless of your dog’s activity.
  • Easy-release buckets on a minimally featured and styled jacket help prevent accidents and complications to your dog while swimming on the water.
  • A handle on the PFD assists in lifting your dog out of the water quickly.

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