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Even though they have been available for years, many people are still unfamiliar with inflatable life jackets. For persons who want an alternative to traditional hot, bulky, and uncomfortable life jackets, these PFDs offer a U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jacket in a small, lightweight package.

  • Inflatable life jackets come in several styles and colors.
    • Styles include a PFD that looks like a pair of suspenders and belt packs that look like a small fanny pack.
    • Some of these PFDs are designed to inflate if the wearer falls into the water.
  • The most important advantage of inflatable life jackets is that they are comfortable enough for boaters to wear all the time on the water.
  • Inflatable life jackets generally are not approved for use by people under the age of 16.
  • Inflatable PFDs are not to be worn on PWCs or while water-skiing.
  • Many inflatable PFDs are required to be worn instead of just carried in a bag or stowed in a storage area.
  • They require some periodic maintenance and cost a little more than traditional life jackets; however, if it will save your life, it's worth every penny.
  • You should read and understand the operating instructions and the approval label before you choose an inflatable life jacket. Then be sure to wear it!
How to Wear an Inflatable Life Jacket