Do Life Jackets Expire?
No, from the technical point of view the life jacket will not expire, however, since the material within the vest loses its ability to keep buoyancy in water over time.
Constant wear and tear cause the material in a foam life jacket to get damaged and losing its buoyancy. This can severely reduce its performance and the protection of a person when they fall into the water. Therefore, it is recommended to keep your PDFs in a dry and cool place. Also, you should only use them according to their intended usage.
In general, inflatable life jackets inflates itself using a carbon dioxide tank (CO2). When you buy an inflatable life jacket always check for its tank replacement date since these tanks will expire approximately 1-3 years. Also, do not forget to inspect the tank for any damage or corrosion.
At Aquastream swim school, every single student learns the importance of water safety. The Canadian law requires you to have a lifejacket or PDF (personal flotation device) on board for each individual on a watercraft. It is important to note that, against cold-water shock, a lifejacket will be your best defense. According to the research, regardless of the boater’s experience or skills, sudden exposure to cold water can be a serious risk to life. Because, suddenly falling into cold water can adversely affect your breathing, nerves and as well as muscle strength.
Types of life jackets
There are a number of life jackets. Among them, the most common types are foam life jackets and inflatable life jackets.
How can you test your life jacket?
Do you have a life jacket at home which you have not used for a long time? Then it is better to test it before taking it on your boating trip.
If the one you have is a foam life jacket then the first thing you need is to put them on. Later try floating in calm water condition. When you are in the water, floating, the vest should fit properly. Also, you need to pay attention that the vest is not rising up over your shoulders. If during the test, you see that the life jacket is not supporting you to float safely, then it means you should replace the jacket. The reason for the problem originates from the foam inside, which is no longer buoyant.
You can apply the same procedure while testing inflatable life jacket. If a problem occurs, you should check the CO2 in the tank and its expiration date.