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UNDERSTANDING LIFEJACKET (Personal Floating Device)
How do Lifejackets Work?
Lifejackets work on the principle of buoyancy, i.e. the amount of water displaced by an object is equal to its weight. This implies that when a person is in the water, the buoyancy force created is equal to the weight of the person. A Lifejacket, however, is made of lightweight form that weighs much less than the average weight density of human beings. As a result, when a person is wearing a Lifejacket, the total weight to be displaced by the water is much less as compared to the weight of the person alone, and so the person floats.
It is important to wear a jacket that fits well, protects the person from injuries due to impact, and ensures maximum safety till further help arrives, even in rough sea conditions.
By knowing the different types of classifications, you’ll be able to pick out the perfect life jacket for you and your needs.
Type I PFDs, are the most buoyant PFDs and suitable for all water conditions, including rough or isolated water where rescue may be delayed. Although bulky in comparison to Type II and III PFDs, Type I will turn most unconscious individuals to the face-up position. They range in sizes from adult to child. These provide a minimum buoyancy of 10kg.F on Adults & 5.5kg.F on child wearer .This is the best Lifejacket when the head is intended to keep above the rough waters.
Type 2 : Inshore Water Personal Flotation Device
Near-Shore Buoyant Vests: Type II PFD’s are meant for wearers that will be boating close to shore in locations where there is a high chance of a quick rescue. Type II PFD’s are also wearable for long days of water and land adventures, still being buoyant while not super bulky.
Inflatable Type II PFD Minimum Buoyancy: a minimum of 33.7 lb
Foam Type II PFD Minimum Buoyancy: a minimum of 15.5 lb
Type III PFD’s – Flotation Aids: Also known as inshore buoyant vests:
This type of lifejackets are specifically designed for activities where adventurers can see the shore on calm or inland waters. Inshore PFDs offer comfort without compromising on user safety, technology, or design. They stand up to the test of speed. Type III PFD’s, are designed with swimming and recreational boating activities and water-sports in mind.
Inflatable Type III PFD Minimum Buoyancy: a minimum of 22.5 lb
Foam Type III PFD Minimum Buoyancy: a minimum of 15.5 lb
Type 4 : Throwable device:
These are designed to be thrown to an overboard victim or to supplement the buoyancy of a person overboard. It is not to be worn.
Throwable Device Type IV PFD Minimum Buoyancy: A minimum of 16.5 lb
Type V PFD’s – Special-Use Devices:
Type V PFD’s are specially designed for specific uses. From devices used to prevent hypothermia, or for rescue operations to those meant for kayaking, Type V PFD’s must be used according to their specifications. Some of these devices are not approved for certain activities, or must be worn to be approved for use.
Minimum buoyancy: Depends on specific PFD
What Are The Biggest Advantages And Disadvantages Of Life Jackets?
The importance of a life jacket can’t be overstated, as they are the best means of safety for those in the water. Life jackets are a great thing to have on hand for sudden bad weather, warmth and the possibility of an accident. While life jackets may have a reputation for being uncomfortable, they absolutely don’t have to be. The key is simply finding a life jacket that fits you well.
Need-To-Knows For Proper Life Jacket Fitting
Finding the perfect fit for your life jacket is the key to making sure that you’re comfortable and safe. Your life jacket can’t be too small — it won’t keep you afloat in the water — and it shouldn’t be too big, because it’ll ride up and be uncomfortable.
Here’s what you need to know for ensuring that you have the perfect fit:
- The fit should be snug, though not too tight
- When you raise your arms over your head, your life jacket shouldn’t go too far
- Adjust waist strap first, then side straps second, shoulder straps third and then comfort straps
- If your adjustments haven’t led to the perfect fit, try a different size of life jacket
- When possible, do a fit-test in the water. Wade into chest-deep water and float onto your back to ensure the life jacket doesn’t ride up, slip over your head and keeps you afloat.
What Are The Best Ways To Care For Your Life Jackets?
Caring properly for your life jackets is key to making sure that they’re around and keeping you safe for a long time. Here are some key considerations for proper life jacket care:
- At the beginning of each season, give every life jacket a lookover to check for any missing hardware or pieces. Make sure that there are no rips, tears or signs of mildew
- Don’t clean your life jackets with harsh detergents or cleaners, but instead use gentle detergent or a specially-made life jacket cleaner
- Don’t leave life jackets out in direct sun for any length of time, as this can affect buoyancy and fabric integrity
Best Storage Practices For Your Life Jackets
Storing your life jackets is essential to keeping them in great condition for many seasons to come, since proper storage can prevent mildew, mold growth and extra degradation. Keep these storage practices in mind:
- Let life jackets drip dry before putting them in storage
- Store in a well-ventilated, dry area away from direct heat
- Try to hang life jackets whenever possible, and if stacking is necessary for storage, don’t place heavy items on top of them
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