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Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Tips

Simply wearing a life jacket isn’t enough; anyone putting on a jacket should make sure that it fits properly and the straps, buckles or zipper are secure.

Working in pairs, have one person (A) stand behind the other person (B) and test the life jacket for proper fit. While person B puts his arms straight overhead (similar to a football referee signaling a touchdown), person A should grasp the tops of person B’s arm openings and gently pull up. Excess room above the arm openings and the life jacket riding up over the chin and face are signs of a bad fit. A snug fit in these areas represents a good fit.

A proper fit means once it’s zippered and/or buckled, it should keep your head and upper shoulders above the water. If it fits too loose, the flotation will push the jacket up around your face. If your life jacket is too small, it won’t keep your body afloat. When not using your life jacket, store it in a readily accessible place away from sunlight and chemicals. Nylon and other synthetic materials used to make your life jacket will be harmed over time by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Fabric that becomes discolored may indicate ultra-violet damage. In other words, don’t leave your PFD hanging outside all summer exposed to the sun. Also, prolonged exposure to chemicals or exhaust fumes can attack the flotation’s foam.

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