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Life Jacket Sizing

A Yamaha jet ski gives you power and fun when you hit the water after a long day. While there is no denying the joys of riding a jet ski, there is also no denying the safety concerns. A life jacket is a top priority for any rider of a jet ski. When it comes to life jacket sizing, here are some things you need to know.

Yes, You Need One

A lot of people think because they are skilled riders that the life jacket is optional. People also think that because they are good swimmers, there is no need to wear a life jacket on a jet ski. It doesn't matter how skilled you are at riding or swimming if you are injured. It is a sadly common fact that jet ski injuries happen, and they can be fatal if a driver or rider is knocked unconscious without a life jacket to keep them afloat. Accidental drownings are so common that most states now require you to wear a life jacket or you will get a ticket.

Adult Sizing

When shopping for an adult-sized life jacket, you can't go with your best guess or just choose the biggest one available because more is better. In life jacket sizing, you need accurate measurements and a proper fit for it to be a safety rather than a danger or hindrance. You also can't use bodyweight or the size of what you normally wear in shirts since life jackets need to fit differently.

To get started finding your adult life jacket size, you should measure the chest. Chest size a key element since the life jacket should be snug at the widest part of the upper body to provide protection. You should measure the broadest part of the chest for both men and women and then use those measurements to choose the right life jacket. They are usually sold in small, medium, large, or extra-large, but you will also be able to figure out the size for you based on these measurements using the manufacturer sizing guide.

You also want to keep in mind that the matter of life jacket sizing is also about a proper fit. Proper fit is often misunderstood in terms of life jackets. You want a life jacket that is big enough to fit your chest yet still snug and close to the body with no gaps of space. It should feel tight but not like it restricts your ability to move. If it is so tight that you can't move, go to the next size and see if that is better. If it is too loose to where it rubs against the skin and causes chaffing, go down a size. The fit is the most important part of choosing this personal floatation device.

One of the reasons people choose the wrong fit in a life jacket is because they don't test out the fit the right way. You should put the jacket on by tightening the straps at the bottom and working your way up. Make sure the straps are tight but not so tight that you feel restricted. Next, sit down and have another person pull up on the life jacket shoulders. If the straps are properly tightened and the life jacket moves up towards your head, you need to try a smaller sized life jacket. You never want a life vest that rides up over the chin. If you are in the water and unable to swim for whatever reason, this will leave you with your mouth in the water in a front floating position rather than floating on your back.

Sizing for Children

While you still want to have the proper fit for a child wearing a life jacket following the same guidelines as an adult, a child's life vest is chosen based on weight rather than chest measurements or age. A lot of parents assume it is based on age, but weight is always the deciding factor when choosing a life vest for a child.

Infant: 8-30 pounds
Child: 30-50 pounds
Youth: 50-90 pounds

It is also important to note that you should never simply put a small adult size life vest on your child. Children, especially younger ones, are not as skilled at swimming as adults. A vest made specially for a child will have features such as a head support to help them keep their head up when in the water, a fit more like a bathing suit that goes from the shoulders to a padded seat of the pants to prevent the jacket riding up, and handles to make it easier to grab the child from the water in the event of an accident or emergency.

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