Lifejackets (PFD’s) and the choices available!
Hi friends! Hope your week is going good! Today, I’ll talk about lifejackets and how you should choose one.
First rule is~ ALWAYS wear one on the water. No excuses! I’ve heard them all and seen the fatalities because of over-inflated egos and statements like, “I’m a good swimmer” or “I know these waters like the back of my hand”. Those that know me personally know I have been called to help in a ‘recovery’ of kayakers/canoeists who have lost their lives on our lake.
NOW….the first thing you need to do is try every lifejacket on you think might work for you! I know we do not have many stores to choose from in North Alabama, but I strongly encourage you to take some time and find what lifejacket fits you the best. There are hundreds of lifejackets that could work, so your final decision should be based on what conditions you expect to paddle in, your swimming ability, and what is most comfortable for you. Spare no expense, because this is your lifejacket and it will keep you afloat in trying times.
There are hundreds of choices, and since I am unsponsored I will offer these suggestions: Astral V8 is a great warm weather lifejacket. NRS makes some great ones, as well as Stohlquist, Kokatat, Harmony and Level Six. You can find some great online deals, but you will not have the ability to try them on first (the challenge), but you can always return it.
Factors to consider are: your swimming ability, how much flotation you actually need, and the conditions you will be paddling in. This is YOUR lifejacket, so DO NOT CARE about mine. Mine is what I am comfortable with and fills my needs. Choose the lifejacket that you will feel naked without.
Also, they even make female life jackets adjustable in all the needed places. Lifejackets are rated by the US Coast Guard, here’s a link to help you understand their rating system: https://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5214/pfdselection.asp. The right life jacket for you is the one you will wear 100% of the time on the water.
NOW…. lifejackets are awesome, but what about your own safety and rescue skills? Can you rescue yourself or others in a emergency situation? Our next blog will explain why courses taught by American Canoe Association Instructors are as valuable as a lifejacket!
Paddle on, my friends!!