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Best life jackets for boating 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated May 1, 2019
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Charlie OliverHey, I’m Charlie Oliver. After spending over 51 hours comparing at least 12 life jackets for boating, I am recommending the best life jackets for boating of 2018

In this article, I will be categorizing the items according to their functions and most typical features. Without further-a-do, let’s take a look at the Top 3 list in 2018 which are available in the market.

Best life jackets for boating of 2018

Come with me. Many brands have introduced life jackets for boating on the market. These brands have resulted in a variety for the user. These require that the consumers be well aware of what they are buying so as to make the best choice. After carefully examining the reviews and ratings of the people who have used them earlier this listicle has been made. The “Total” indicates the overall value of the product.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Product
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Design
5 points
5 points
5 points
Materials
4 points
5 points
4 points
Durability
5 points
4 points
4 points
Quality
5 points
4 points
4 points
Awards 1
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How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the life jackets for boating by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.

 

 

№1 – Premium Quality Automatic / Manual Inflatable Life Jacket Lifejacket PFD Floating Life Vest Inflate Survival Aid Lifesaving PFD Basic NEW

 
Premium Quality Automatic / Manual Inflatable Life Jacket Lifejacket PFD Floating Life Vest Inflate Survival Aid Lifesaving PFD Basic NEW

Pros
Automatically inflates upon immersion in water, or when the wearer pulls the inflation handle.
CE Certificated & SOLAS approved USA 3M reflectors. Highly visible in dark.
Light weight, durable, and comfortable to wear. Adjustable belt fit for adult and youth.
Cons
Everything is OK.
 
Total:
4.8

Why did this life jackets for boating win the first place?

I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days.

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Design
5

5star

Materials
4

4star

Durability
5

5star

Quality
5

5star

 

 

№2 – Premium Quality Manual Inflatable Life Jacket Lifejacket PFD Life Vest Slim Inflate Survival Aid Lifesaving PFD NEW

 
Premium Quality Manual Inflatable Life Jacket Lifejacket PFD Life Vest Slim Inflate Survival Aid Lifesaving PFD NEW

Pros
Lightweight, slim, comfort, & stunning Classic Rainbow Color design!
Inflates less than 3-5 seconds when the wearer manually pulls the inflation handle.
CE Certificated & SOLAS approved USA 3M reflectors. Highly visible in dark.
Cons
Hard to use.
A little on the heavy side.
 
Total:
4.5

Why did this life jackets for boating come in second place?

Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money.

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Design
5

5star

Materials
5

5star

Durability
4

4star

Quality
4

4star

 

 

№3 – Kent Type II Adult Life Jackets with Clear Storage Bag

 
Kent Type II Adult Life Jackets with Clear Storage Bag

Pros
N/A
Imported
Type II lifejacket
Cons
Very expensive.
Wears off quickly..
 
Total:
4.3

Why did this life jackets for boating take third place?

It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great!

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Design
5

5star

Materials
4

4star

Durability
4

4star

Quality
4

4star

 

 

life jackets for boating Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy life jackets for boating, right? No!

Life Vest Sizing and Fitting

The last two guidelines are to be used when fitting a life vest for paddle sports. In general, a life vest should fit securely and comfortably for all types of users. If your vest is too loose, it will not provide proper flotation in water.

Down-to-Feather Ratio

Many manufacturers are now treating their down with hydrophobic compounds that certainly make them better at dealing with moisture (more on that later). But at the end of the day, synthetic insulation is king at staying warm when wet, since it won’t lose its structure, even if it isn’t quite as good at retaining heat. Legendary alpinist Steve House obsesses about traveling light expeditions, but will add ounces—sometimes pounds—of excess weight to his kit by bringing synthetic jackets and sleeping bags. “If I’m going to be overnight or on an expedition, I am going to go synthetic,” House said. He used a synthetic Patagonia Das Parka to guide in places like Denali and Chamonix since the nineties, long before he was sponsored by the company.

Ethical Concerns

There are plenty. Due to the fact that down is a bi-product of the of the goose and duck meat industry, and given that the vast majority of the down manufacturers are using is from far away places like China and Eastern Europe, it’s extremely difficult to keep track of how those ducks and geese are being treated before and during their slaughter.

Down-Synthetic Hybrids

Some materials companies (like synthetic insulation pioneer Primaloft) have combined synthetics with down in an effort to create a best of both worlds combo of warmth, weight, and water-repellency. This method involves actually intertwining hydrophobic-treated down with synthetic fills. The jury’s still out on these types of fills, and I haven’t used very many of them myself.

Specifications & Features

Constructed with polyester and PE floatation foam, it is highly durable in nature and hence can be used every season without any doubt.

Sizes and Proper Fitting

A life jacket is designed primarily to keep your head above water when afloat. To make sure the life jacket is the right size, you should first check the life jackets label for size and weight restrictions.  Sizing guides will vary from one manufacturer to another based on the design of each vest.

Adult sizes are usually measured in chest diameter and can range in size from Extra Small (28-3inches) to 3X (52-5inches).

USCG Approved or not USCG Approved

The USCG certification process can be costly, so some manufacturers, particularly those in the European market, do not seek USCG certification even though their products may meet the agency’s set standards. These same products often carry certification by the ISO (international Organization for Standards) or CE (European Commission).

USCG Approved PFD Buoyancy Requirements

Type II – Foam                                 15.(70)

Being visible in the water can make all of the difference during a man overboard rescue.  Reflective strips on your inflatable improve the chance those using a search light or flashlight will locate you.  The more placed higher and on your inflatable bladder the better.

If an inflatable life jacket does not already have reflective tape, add it using after market, inflatable approved, self-adhesive strips.

Crotch Straps

Crotch straps keep the life jacket  from riding up in the water into your chin and face.  By keeping the vest down in place, your body, and more importantly head, will ride higher in the water.  If your vest has a built in harness, crotch straps will keep it well placed and provide better body support (load distribution) should your harness have to break your fall.

If your inflatable life jacket does not already have crotch straps, you can purchase manufacture specific ones separately.

Strobe Lights

Strobes are extremely helpful for locating someone in the water at night, especially when seas are rough.  Some inflatables come with a strobe light included, but most do not.  Typically styles attach with an elastic strap around the inflatable bladder and pack inside the vest with the deflated bladder; or an integral strap is available on the bladder for attachment.

LUME-On

This is a product developed and distributed by Spinlock, a UK company.  Lume-On consists of two flat pieces that self-adhere to the underside of the inflation bladder.  The light is water activated to illuminate the bladder of an inflatable life jacket making it easier to see during rescue. This is standard on some Spinlock inflatables, but can attach to any brand of inflatable PFDs.  Spinlock does state that it is up to you to determine if using their LUME-On is appropriate for your inflatable and recommends checking with the manufacture.

Harness & Tethers

If you ever anticipate sailing offshore, at night or in seas where you may use a tether to attach yourself to a jackline or pad eye, even just once, purchase an inflatable with a built in harness and tether attachment point.  Generally it adds only a little more to the cost.  Soft loops are lighter and more comfortable than stainless ‘D’ rings.

Don’t assume a boat you will be sailing on will have tethers available for you to use.  You should have and bring your own.  Double tethers are advisable, as you can always stay attached to the boat with the first clip, while you change your connection point to the boat with the second clip as you move about.  It is important to have a quick release shackle at the harness connection point or a safety cutaway knife to separate you from the boat in an emergency or man-over board situation.

Floatation Aid

These are a good for conscious users in calm inland water or where fast rescue is likely to happen.

The main benefits of these are: – • They are usually the most comfortable for continuous wear • Designed for general boating & designated activities marked on the device such as water skiing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, wind surfing and many others.

Special Use Devices

Type V life jackets are intended for very specific activities. These include board sailing vests, deck suits, pullover vests, work vests, some hybrid life jackets, inflatable life jackets with OCR harness and many others.

They are only appropriate for specific uses or conditions so you should check the label instructions.. Some Type V life jackets meet the U.S. Coast Guard’s Carriage Regulations only if worn in accordance with the label.

Automatic PFD vs. Manual PFD

Automatic inflation devices are supposed to inflate on contact with water and usually it does take being submerged in water to activate. A spray of water will not normally be enough to make it inflate. The real benefit of this is that it could save your life if you are knocked unconscious while going into the water. The downside is that automatic inflatable life jackets could also inflate inconveniently if you, for example, plunge through a wave and you get water dumped on you. This can be combatted by choosing an automatic inflatable life vest which is activated with water pressure.

A manual inflatable life vest requires you to be conscious and aware of what you are doing so you are able to pull the release for the cylinder. This is the more reliable of the two inflatables and requires less servicing but doesn’t have the added safety measure of inflating if you are knocked unconscious.

Whether it’s automatic life jacket or a manual life jacket, some life jackets will also have an oral tube incorporated into the design. This allows you to top up the air bladder when needed. Many manufacturers have a COcylinder which will not fully inflate the vest and therefore you may need to top up the bladder, depending on how long you are in the water before you are rescued.

The Last Word

Enjoy a comfortable day on the boat in a Stearns Adult Classic Series Vest. The US Coast Guard approved PFD is designed with three adjustable chest belts that help make a day on the water a comfortable one. With webbed 1-in. straps, a durable nylon shell and PE foam inside, this life jacket is sure to be on the boat with you season after season.

O’Brien Traditional Neo Life Men’s Life Vest

The O’Brien Traditional Neo Life Men’s Life Vest has a neoprene outer for extreme comfort all day long. Zip closure and two belts secure the fit of the traditional vest without inhibiting movement. As you would expext from O’Brien, it is USCG approved. Available in a choice of colors – Yellow, Red, Black, or Blue.

Men’s sizes: XS(28″-32″), S(32″-36″), M(36″-40″), L(40″-44″), XL(44″-48″), 2XL(48″-52″), 3XL(52″-56″).

O’Brien Women’s Impulse Neo Life Vest

The O’Brien Ladies Impulse Neoprene Vest is a comfortable flotation vest that is US Coast Guard Approved. The vest has wide armholes designed for active use. Whether boating, boarding or skiing it provides freedom of movement.

The 1.5mm neoprene outer gives extreme comfort and fit. The zippered front closure with adjustable belts equipped with squeeze style side release buckles make donning and doffing fast and easy and provides a secure fit. The vest is hinged in the front for added comfort and manoeuvrability.

Onyx General Purpose Life Vest 4-Pack

The Onyx General Purpose Life Vest Pack are lightweight life vests made from durable foam with nylon oxford fabric. They have adjustable straps – one the chest and on the side. Open sided styling for adjustability and large armholes for a greater range of motion. Packed in a clear, mesh vented, reusable storage bag which has a full zipper and a nylon carry strap.

Stohlquist Women’s Flo Personal Flotation Device

High performance economical equivalents of Stohlquist’s Cruiser vest featuring 400 x 200 denier ripstop outer shell and soft 2denier inner liner. It’s high back flotation fits comfortably above the seat backs found in today’s sit-on-top kayaks. The Stohlquist Women’s Flo Personal Flotation Device is ultralight and ultra cool with open sides, mesh shoulders and mesh back for ventilation. Cross-chest cinch harness for zero ride-up and built-in supportive inner cups. Large bellow pockets with drainage.

Stohlquist Women’s Betsea Personal Floatation Device

The women’s specific Stohlquist Women’s Betsea Personal Floatation Device features the ergonomic WRAPTURE shaped torso that wraps around the body for a close, low profile, and comfortable fit.

The cross-chest cinch harness keeps flotation positioned low on the torso, eliminating ride-up while providing the most effective in water buoyancy. A true women’s PFD that is narrower in the shoulders and shorter in the torso than men’s equivalents. Built-in contoured supportive cups offer support without crushing.

Stohlquist Rocker Personal Floatation Device

Free-floating suspended shoulder straps are contoured, reverse articulated and stretch with you as you move. Nail Cloth textured surface with stiffeners for portaging and give added shoulder protection. High visibility 3M reflective accents. New innovative pocket system enables expandability and security for a wide range of applications. At the top there’s the “Garage” for accessory air inflation hose to rest, with secure D-ring to park your whistle, keys or chap-stick. The Stohlquist Descent Personal Floatation Device has a self expanding, high capacity main pocket for safety accessories, added buoyancy, camera, snacks, Bullet Bag throw-line and other river tools. Out front is a hands free expandable mesh beverage pocket.

Stearns Adult Watersport Classic Series Vest

Enjoy a comfortable day grabbing wakes in a Stearns Adult Watersport Classic Series Vest. The comfortable, US Coast Guard-approved PFD is designed with four adjustable chest belts and two large armholes for better movement. With webbed 1-in. straps, a durable 200D nylon shell and PE foam inside, this life jacket is sure to be on the boat with you season after season. Four adjustable straps and open sides for better fit. Universal size for most adults over 90 lbs.

Full Throttle Adult Dual-Sized Nylon Water Sports Vest

The NRS Ninja PFD athletic design won’t interfere with paddling, rowing or swimming. Four side adjustments and two shoulder adjustments provide a custom fit which is particularly great for paddlers with short torsos, who may have a difficult time wearing more conventional life vests.

Soft PVC-Free foam flotation panels are shaped for comfort and a floating front panel adjusts to your body’s shape and gives you a warm place to put your hands when it’s chilly. The side entry is secured by quick release buckles, making it easy to put on and take off. A front mesh pocket secured with a quick release buckle holds the essentials. Constructed from 500-denier Cordura shell which wears like iron. Soft, stretchy fabric on the inside lets the NRS Ninja PFD flex and enhances breathability.

NRS Vista PFD

The NRS Vista PFD has adjustment points which tighten to fit your body securely. It has a 420-denier nylon outer shell which is designed to resist snags and tears.

Dedicated use PVC-free foam provides 16.pounds of flotation in a medium profile PFD that provides all around flotation. Two pockets with hook-and-loop closures easily hold your important accessories while a lash tab provides a secure location for attaching a rescue knife.

NRS Chinook Mesh Back Fishing PFD

A convenient, breathable design will have you wanting to wear your life jacket on the boat when it’s a Stearns Comfort Series Collared Angler Vest. Forget the balancing act of getting over to the other side of the boat for a new rig. Keep your favorite tackle in two large zippered front pockets that pull double duty as hand warmers on brisk days.

Of course, the most noticeable difference is the mesh fabric on the shoulder panels that allow for added ventilation on breezy days and the flexible neoprene collar that prevents chafing. The US Coast Guard approved design is constructed of PVC/PE flotation foam surrounded by a durable 200D nylon oxford shell with a zippered front and two adjustable 1-in. (2.54-cm) webbed straps.

Mustang Survival Corp M.I.T. 100 Auto Activation PFD

This PFD is shockingly slim, but it does have a few requirements. These include that you know how to swim, you’re older than 16, and you aren’t engaged in high-speed, high-impact water activities. PFDs are different than traditional (and bulky) life jackets because they rely entirely on inflation for buoyancy. The Mustang Survival Corp M.I.T. 100 Auto Activation PFD will inflate automatically as soon as it’s submerged. Alternatively, you can pull the manual activation handle and when you are back on dry land, simply deflate the vest and head for home.

The 500D Cordura fabric provides tough, puncture-proof, flotation and the easy-to-fold design makes the M. I. T. simple to bring with you whenever you head for the water. A clear window lets you check on the status of the inflator. Comfortable buckle straps won’t ride up or let the vest slide over your head when you take a plunge.

Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest

A Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest helps protect little swimmers at the beach or on the boat. The US Coast Guard-approved design is specially-fitted for infants under 30 lbs. A rescue handle allows adults to easily move the infant from the water or the boat. It has one adjustable chest belt, a zipper and an adjustable leg strap for a tight and secure fit. Durable nylon construction and PE flotation foam, along with webbed straps, will allow you to use it season after season. For infants under 30lbs.

Stearns Child Classic Series Vest

Whether they’re on a boat, a tube, water skis or a personal watercraft, your children will have a blast in Stearns Child Classic Series Vest. They’re specially fitted for children 30-50 lbs. The US Coast Guard-approved life jacket is designed with open sides and three adjustable chest belts for a tight fit and better movement. A leg strap keeps the vest from riding up in the water. Durable nylon construction and PE flotation foam, along with 1-in. webbed straps, will allow you to use this vest season after season.

Full Throttle Child Water Buddies Life Vest

When it comes to water safety, we’ve got your back. The Full Throttle Child Water Buddies Life Vest features a bright, colorful design and a rounded foam back with fun graphics, all while keeping your child safe on the water.

Your child will be friends for life with their new Water Buddies Lady Bug, Dinosaur, Astronaut, or Firefly life jacket vest that they will want to put on and keep on. Zippered front with waist belts and leg strap keep vest from riding up or shifting.

Harcdcore Youth Life Vest

The Hardcore Youth Life Vest is the most versatile life jacket available on the market today. This life vest can be used for a wide range activities from water skiing to boating and tubing. The youth vest comes with buckle fastener and is made from smooth UV resistant polyester fabric for added durability without compromising comfort. It has open sides for comfort and durable multi-layer flotation foam for a conforming fit.

Stearns Antimicrobial Nylon Youth Life Vest

Your child’s life jacket should carry memories of fun on the water, not smells from the creatures that live there. A Stearns Antimicrobial Nylon Youth Life Vest is the solution. The shell is treated with antimicrobial protection that inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew.

The US Coast Guard-approved design is specially-fitted for youth 50-90 lbs. The closed-side vest is built for comfort and mobility. It has three adjustable chest belts for a tight and secure fit. A dry ring on the back makes it easy to store after use. Durable nylon construction and PE flotation foam, along with webbed straps, will allow you to use it season after season.

Stohlquist Crossfit Kids Personal Flotation Device

From tubing off the back of the boat to paddling around on the SUP, the Stohlquist Kids’ Crossfit Personal Floatation Device is a high-performer at a true value price. With sculpted foam panelling, graded sizing. This easy to adjust PFD gives an incredibly accurate fit with unmatched mobility. The 200D nylon shell and liner withstand all of the rough tumble water play it’ll experience this summer, while the lightweight PE buoyancy foam floats extremely well.

Thinner back panels to help eliminate interference with seatbacks. USCG Approved.

Kong Aqua Float

The top handle is bright red, slightly padded, and wide enough to allow you to get a good grip in a difficult situation.

The front chest section of the Kong life coat is adjustable with both velcro and a buckled strap. This gives you a very firm fit and provides a lot of adjustment leeway for various sized dogs.

Choosing The Right Flotation Vest For Your Dog

This is done with straps and buckle attachments and, in some cases, velcro as well. Getting a good fit is so important if the jacket is to stay in place in the water and not impede your dog from swimming (which would entirely defeat the purpose of wearing a life vest at all).

A life vest with automatic inflation

Inflatable life jackets can and do save lives, and if the worst happens when out on the water, these jackets can keep you afloat until rescue arrives.

And there are a variety of different life vests to choose from that can be brought with you when out on the water. Recommended for any vessel, these vests are often inexpensive, approved by the Coast Guard, and a necessity.

 

 

 

 

How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the life jackets for boating by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.

 

 

Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your life jackets for boating wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of life jackets for boating

 

 

Questions? Leave a comment below!

Chatting about life jackets for boating is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better!



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