Prep Your Inflatable Life Jacket For The Season

(Courtesy of Boat

Inflatable life jackets have become more popular the last few years for many reasons with the main one being comfort. says inflatable life jackets should be inspected every two to three months, or at the beginning of the season to make sure they will work properly when you need them.

Boat US Inflatable Life Jacket
Checking the inflation mechanism is a key part of preparing your inflatable life jacket for another season. (Photo courtesy of

Here’s a quick five-step prep for your inflatable life jacket from the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:

  • Visually inspect the jacket: Check jacket for rips, tears, holes, broken buckles, etc
  • Orally inflate the jacket to capacity: Even automatically triggered life jackets have an orange inflation tube at the front upper left portion of the jacket. In an emergency, you can inflate the jacket if the CO2 fails, and for testing, you can use it to make sure the jacket holds air when inflated.
  • Visually inspect CO2 trigger and cartridge: Inspect cartridge to ensure that it hasn’t been discharged. Inspect inflator for corrosion and serviceability. If you have an automatic, hydrostatic, unit, be sure to inspect and replace the dissolving “pill” or “bobbin” if equipped with a new one.”
  • Inflate the jacket for 16- to 24 hours: Inflate for 16- to 24 hours to ensure that it holds air. You can also immerse the personal floatation device to check for leaks in it or in the manual inflation tube.
  • If the jacket holds air, repack and reuse: Frequent inspection of your jacket can save your life! For specific information, refer to your life jacket owner’s manual. For general life jacket information, please see our Foundation Findings.

Click to check out a Video on how to inspect your inflatable life jacket.

Click to check out a Video on how to inspect your inflatable life jacket belt pack.

About the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the over half-million members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the non-profit provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America’s waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – can be found at


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