You might not think much about it, but it's actually really important to look after your life jacket. After talking to Chris Sanford from Menace Marine, we pulled together a list of simple steps that you can follow whether you use a regular personal flotation device or an inflatable model.
Maintaining a regular life jacket (PFD)
Tip #1: Keep out of sunlight
If your life jacket is exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods of time, it will deteriorate much quicker. When not in use be sure to keep your life jacket in a dry place, out of direct sunlight.
Tip #2: Wash in clean water
It might be tempting and much easier to simply dump your life jacket in the water to give it a quick rinse, but your life jacket needs to be washed with clean fresh water, not salt water. Washing your life jacket in salt water will deteriorate the material and shorten the life jacket's lifespan.
Tip #3: Allow to dry
Allow the life jacket to dry before storing it away. Make sure you do this out of direct sunlight. The perfect method would be hanging the life jacket on a coat hanger in a dry environment.
Maintaining an inflatable life jacket (PFD)
Tip #1: Wash thoroughly
It is still important to wash your inflatable life jacket thoroughly, but be aware the inflatable life jacket has more parts, and therefore needs to be cleaned with greater attention to detail than a regular life jacket. It then needs to be dried out of direct sunlight, before being stored away.
Tip #2: Service them
As well as maintaining your inflatable life jacket, it also needs to be serviced regularly. Each state has their own rules on servicing requirements, so be sure to check with your local authority. Your inflatable life jacket should be serviced at least every 12 months.
Tip #3: Refer to the instructions
It's always important to refer to the manufacturer's instructions when servicing and maintaining your inflatable life jacket. Each manufacturer will have specific requirements that need to be adhered to in order to guarantee a safe product.