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Did you know that your lifejacket can expire? For example, with an inflatable lifejacket the material inside the vest can actually lose buoyancy, affecting its ability to keep you afloat, whilst a foam lifejacket loses buoyancy from the wear and tear it takes overtime.

The best way to ensure that your lifejacket will keep you safe is to keep up with regular checks, these include:

Checking the inside
A visual check should be made first, it’s the easiest and quickest way to spot any damage. Points to focus on include the bladder, the webbing in case it has frayed and the fastenings. If the fastenings have broken at some point and not been replaced, your lifejacket won’t be able to adjust to your fit and will become less effective. Finally you should check your crotch straps are intact, as these are what stop your lifejacket from riding up and over your head which, if an accident did occur, could be potentially life threatening.

Checking the CO2 bottle
For those with inflatable lifejackets, the CO2 bottle is your lifeline (as well as the lifejacket). Your lifejacket cannot be inflated without the CO2 bottle and therefore should be checked that it is full and if it’s not, should be replaced immediately. If full, it will be within 2 grams when weighed - remember to check that the scales are accurate! You should also check the cylinder isn’t corroded to avoid any damage to the bladder.

When not using your lifejacket it’s important that you store it in a dry place where no moisture can get to it. Slightly inflate it so to get rid of the folds but don’t use your mouth because this will let in moisture, opt for a manual pump instead. Our tip is to wipe down your lifejacket after every use to remove any dirt etc.

GJW Direct are proud to be working with the RNLI to prevent drowning. For more tips about lifejacket safety visit the RNLI website www.rnli.org