Life jackets (also known as a personal flotation device or PFD) are an essential item for every paddle board trip. Here are a few reasons why:
- Safety: Wearing a life jacket or buoyancy aid will help you afloat if you fall off your paddle board, It can also make it easier for rescuers to spot you in the water.
- Legal requirements: In some places, it is required by law to wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid when paddling on open water or in certain weather conditions. Be sure to check the laws in your area to make sure you are complying with any regulations.
- Comfort: A life jacket can also make you feel more comfortable and secure while paddling, especially if you are not a strong swimmer or if you are paddling in unfamiliar waters.
- Peace of mind: Wearing a life jacket gives you peace of mind, knowing that you have an extra layer of protection in case of an emergency, even if the conditions might not seem dangerous, a lot can change while out on the water.
The RNLI recommends the below:
- Wear a life jacket: The RNLI recommends that everyone who goes on or near the water should wear a life jacket. This includes boaters, paddlers, swimmers, and anyone else who may come into contact with the water.
- Choose the right life jacket: The RNLI advises selecting a life jacket that is appropriate for your size, activity level, and the type of water you will be in. For example, a buoyancy aid is suitable for calm waters and a buoyancy jacket is suitable for choppy waters.
- Check your life jacket: The RNLI recommends checking your life jacket regularly to make sure it is in good condition and fits properly. This includes checking the fabric, buckles, and straps for signs of wear or damage.
- Wear your life jacket properly: The RNLI advises wearing your life jacket correctly and fastening it properly, as per the manufacturer's instructions. This includes making sure that it fits snugly and is comfortable to wear.
- Learn how to use your life jacket: The RNLI recommends familiarizing yourself with how your life jacket works and how to put it on in an emergency. It is also a good idea to practice using your life jacket in a safe and controlled environment.
It is important to note that a life jacket is not a substitute for proper safety measures and good judgment. It is still important to be aware of your surroundings, follow safety guidelines, and paddle within your ability level. However, a life jacket can provide an extra level of protection and can be a valuable piece of safety equipment for anyone who is paddle boarding.