Pittsburgh, PA

Life Jacket Safety: Staying Safe Around the Water

Life jackets hanging on a rack

Safety experts recommend that everyone wear a life jacket around the water. Like wearing a seatbelt in a car, life jackets can save your life if you encounter a hazard or fall into the water. 

How Do Life Jackets Save Lives?

Wearing a life jacket can save your life by:

  • Providing flotation if you unexpectedly find yourself in the water.
  • Providing flotation if you purposely jump into the water to save someone else.
  • Providing flotation when you are no longer able to keep yourself above the water’s surface due to fatigue, injury, or cold.
  • Providing flotation if you are a weak or non-swimmer.

How to Choose a Life Jacket

While life jackets can help keep you safe, it’s necessary that your life jacket fits correctly and is suitable for your body type. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a life jacket!

Lifejackets must be:

  • The appropriate size for the intended user.
  • Appropriate for the activity.
  • In good and serviceable condition.
  • Coast Guard or Transport Canada approved.

Size and Fit:

  • Check the label for user weight and chest size.
  • Try your lifejacket on in the water to ensure your airway is clear.
  • A good fit is secure, comfortable, and adjustable.

When to Wear a Life Jacket

Ensure that you know when it’s appropriate to wear life jackets and be sure to follow these safety precautions! 

  • Always wear a lifejacket in the pool if you’re still learning to swim. 
  • Always wear a lifejacket when swimming in unknown waters, even if you have experience – this goes for adults too!
  • Always wear a life jacket while boating and participating in water activities at the lake, ocean, or river. 
  • Noodles, swim rings, inflatable rafts, kickboards, etc. are toys. These toys may provide some buoyance, but they do not prevent drowning as children can slip off/out of them and be under the water quickly.

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