Life Jackets and Bouyancy Aid Basics

What is the difference between a bouyancy aid and a lifejacket? How much should I expect to pay? What to look out for? Some items look good and are only a few pounds, but is it right for you and will it do the job?

This is something your very life could depend on and you are going to be wearing it in all sorts of conditions, so it is worth doing some research, asking other members before you invest in your own buoyancy aid or life jacket.

You could start by looking at what others in the club are wearing and asking them the simple and pretty obvious questions “what made you choose that? and where did you get it from?”

Praise be YouTube and Google – they make it easy and quick to research. For example, this was my search on YouTube “UK Whats the difference between a bouyancy aid and a sailing life jacket” which came up with a very useful RYA video.  Click on the link to watch the short video.

Buoyancy aides tend to be very warm to wear ….  you might want to consider a life jacket, this should have a rating of 150 newton’s, and to comply with RSC regulations must be of the automatic inflation variety, here are some of the best value lifejackets I could find on the internet. i.e the Bluewave automatic in red at £44.99 or the navy at £54.99, both look good to me, they comply with the regulations and would be comfortable to wear, much cooler than a buoyancy aid.
These links provides proper guidance on the use of buoyancy aids and lifejackets…the advice is v. important as it might save your life!
I notice that a lot of web searches including large online shops,  list life jackets but the majority are in fact buoyancy aids….. beware, there is a big difference. JCW.
Thanks to Jo Collinge for asking the question and to  John Cranwell Ward and Peter Shuttleworth for their help in providing this article.

Invest some time as well as money in choosing the best for you – after all, you could expect it to save your life.

Dave Grundy goes sailing

About Dave Grundy

Joined RCSSC after over 25 years gap from sailing offshore and dinghies. I quickly got involved and became the Sailing Secretary, later the Treasurer and for three years RCSSC Club Commodore ( Now title is Club Captain) So glad I found RCSSC.