Author: Boat Accessories Australia Date Posted: 14 March 2017
Your new life jacket comes with a warranty but could you be putting the warranty at risk? Life jackets need to be maintained to ensure they have a long life and the warranty remains valid.
In the past 10 years, the boating industry has placed more importance on the need for better performing, more comfortable life jackets that need to be worn.
After numerous tragedies at sea, the industry changed the rules around wearing life jackets in open and potentially dangerous waters. For more detail see Regulations for Wearing Life Jackets State by State. Life jackets were also re-classified so that only certain types of jackets are acceptable in some water conditions.
Life jacket design has changed in a way so that they are more comfortable to wear for several hours on a boat. Self-inflating jackets mean they are no longer bulky and restrictive for their wearer but for the jacket to inflate properly and do its job, it needs the right conditions and care. Life jacket warranties can be as long as five years. For the warranty to be valid, make sure you:
To ensure your life jacket has a long effective life, follow these tips:
Read your instruction manual so you are aware of any servicing requirements and make a note of the date of the first service.
After every trip, look over the life jacket to check the cylinder is dry and there are no signs of corrosion or punctures. Don’t store your jacket unless it is clean and dry.
If your jacket was wet during your boat trip, remove the Co2 cartridge, wash with fresh warm water and a small amount of mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly and dry out of direct sunlight. Replace the Co2 cartridge in the jacket and repack following the fold lines.
To ensure the fold lines in the bladder don’t cause the jacket to fail with age, use the oral tube to inflate the lifejacket by mouth every six months.
Most self inflating life jackets need to be serviced every 12 months. Some manufacturers will allow jackets to be self serviced annually but will require a professional service every third year by an authorised service agent. Check the instructions for each different model of life jacket you own so you know the requirements.
If you are going to conduct a self service, ensure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully. If you don’t have a copy, check their website, call the manufacturer or Boat Accessories Australia. For more information, read in more detail about Self Checking and Servicing your Inflatable Life Jacket.
Remember it doesn’t matter how much care you show your life jacket, it can’t do its job if it’s not suitable or the right fit for the user. For more information, read up on Choosing a Properly Fitting Life Jacket.
Most importantly, a life jacket can only save your life if you are wearing it. History shows deaths occur on the water not because there wasn’t a life jacket on board the boat but because it wasn’t being worn. Don’t become one of the statistics. Buy the right jacket for your requirements, care for it correctly and wear it when you’re out on the water. Ask BAA if you have any questions relating to selecting the right jacket and its ongoing care.
If you have any questions about servicing your jacket or are unsure of anything, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at Boat Accessories Australia on 1300 308 161 or send us an email.