In BC, 82% of drownings occur because people either do not wear a life jacket or personal flotation device or because they are not wearing them properly. Whether you’re planning to kayak, paddleboard or go fishing this summer, disaster can be avoided by arming yourself with basic information. Don’t’ let a great day on the water end badly.
Before you put on a life jacket, look for these important features:
- Look for a label certifying that it is approved by Transport Canada.
- Check the label for the weight range and wear the correct size.
- Choose a brightly coloured jacket for high visibility.
- Straps for children that go between their legs to prevent it from slipping over their head.
- A large collar for children’s life jackets for head support.
- Sturdy, rust-proof zippers and buckles that all work properly.
- Additional features like a handle on the collar or an attached whistle are a good idea.
A life jacket must fit correctly to work. It should fit snugly without being too tight. To ensure that your life jacket fits, always get the correct size. Life jackets are made in a range of sizes from infants and children to adults. Sizing is based on chest measurements for adults and weight for children.
To check if it fits you properly, make sure all the zippers are done up and all clips and straps are tightened. If your life jacket can slip over your ears, it’s too big! If you can’t buckle or zip up the life jacket, it’s too small.
Pets should wear life jackets too. Like people, life jackets for pets should be brightly coloured, fit securely and have a grab handle.