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It’s essential to avoid any confusion between lifejackets and buoyancy aids as the latter only helps with buoyancy and consequently wearers must be able to swim. Lifejackets enable the person to be turned over on to their back, so they can breathe if they’re unconscious and stay afloat.
Every lifejacket sold in Europe must be compliant with the standard in force and bear the CE mark, proof that it has been tested and approved. Standards validate at least the buoyancy, indicated in Newton (N). Your lifejacket must be compliant with at least the 100 Newton standard and be equipped with a whistle and reflective strips to make it easier to locate you in case of an accident.
There is a difference between what we call the floating help jackets that are compliant with 50 Newton standard only and life jackets.
Below is a little visual explanation:
There are two types of life jackets: foam and inflatable . They are equally as effective, but inflatable jackets are recommended for regular use, as they provide greater freedom of movement . Foam jackets are just as effective as inflatable jackets. There are numerous models that differ in terms of their fastening systems.
In addition to choosing the type of jacket (foam or inflatable), you also need to take your weight into account. There are several sizes and it’s essential to choose the right size to ensure your jacket is as effective as possible.
In order to lengthen the life of your life jacket, make sure you rinse it thoroughly every time you’ve used it and then dry it quickly. For inflatable models: remove the inflation system, rinse and then dry the jacket before replacing the inflation system.