Shopping for life jackets

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LIFE JACKET: Choose the right one that has all the features you may need in an emergency.

WHEN it comes to choosing the right lifejacket for your boating, surely all you need to know is that it floats? Apparently not.
With the plethora of options, colours, styles and features available, here are a few questions you need to ask the man in the shop before you buy.
Firstly: Is there a safety harness? This might be handy for getting you back on board, or lashing you there in the first place. Secondly: does it have a spray hood? You wouldn’t want to get sprayed in the face if you were drowning would you? But seriously, spray inhalation is a big issue.
Where regulations are concerned, is it certified 150N or 275N? The standard 275N is only if you are wearing clothing that has its own buoyancy.
When it comes to the question of inflation, automatic or manual firing are your options. Unless you are a water-sports guru, automatic is the safer bet.
AIS or PLBs, although a little expensive, will help you to be found if you were to go overboard and out of sight. A Personal Location Beacon could make all the difference at night.
However, whatever make or model you choose, make sure you chose it because it has all the features you may need in an emergency, not because it’s the cheapest in the shop.

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