Sunday, June 16, 2024

Heading out on the water? Make sure you have the right life jacket

(WYDaily/File photo)

With summer at its peak, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is urging boaters to remember to always use their life jackets.

But boaters should also ensure that their life jackets fit properly, because an ill-fitting one can be as dangerous as not one wearing one at all, the Coast Guard Auxiliary says.

To ensure a proper fit, the Coast Guard Auxiliary offers these tips for selecting a life jacket:

  • Only buy a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved life jacket that is the correct size for
    your weight.
  • Use the “touchdown” test to see if the life jacket fits properly. Lift your arms above
    your head as if calling a touchdown. The chest portion of the jacket should not touch
    your chin when you look left, right or over your shoulder. If the jacket passes this
    test, you’ve scored a good fit.
  • Before shopping for a child’s life jacket, weigh the child and measure for chest size
    under the arms. With the jacket fully buckled, grab the jacket at the shoulders and lift up. The jacket fits if it moves less than 3 inches up and down the child’s body. It
    should be snug, but not too tight.
  • Ensure a life jacket for an infant or child has a crotch strap, an oversized float collar
    to help keep the head out of the water, and a grab loop for easier water rescue. All
    straps should be intact and fastened at all times.
Bryan DeVasher
Bryan DeVasher
Bryan DeVasher is the managing editor-digital of WYDaily. A resident of Hampton Roads for more than two decades, he has worked for news organizations in Virginia, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. He most recently was a member of the public relations staff for Virginia State Police.

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