While incidents involved multiple models and manufacturers, investigations revealed no findings of non-conformance or manufacturing defects.

According to data provided by the USCG Office of Design & Engineering Standards and the Office of Boating Safety, it was confirmed that the products met USCG requirements and the applicable industry standards. However:

The findings of these investigations did highlight the importance of checking the fit and performance of lifejackets on users, especially on infants and children, while floating in water. The Coast Guard recommends everyone try on their lifejacket in a controlled water environment to ensure proper fit and performance on their body.

Tips

Try It On For Size

  • Check the manufacturer’s label to ensure that the life jacket is a proper fit for your size and weight.
  • Make sure the jacket is properly fastened.
  • Hold your arms straight up over your head.
  • Ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings and gently pull up.
  • Make sure there is no excess room above the openings and that the jacket does not ride up over your chin or face

All Coast Guard approved lifejackets meet industry standards and Coast Guard requirements for construction, performance, and manufacturing.

However, the only way to ensure proper fit and performance on an individual is to try it on in the water.

Select a lifejacket that is appropriate for your size, environment, and activity. Read the label. A lifejacket should fit snugly. When in the water, if the user cannot maintain a relaxed “face-up” floating position after getting used to wearing the lifejacket, try another style until one is found that fits and performs properly. We continue to urge and encourage boaters to try on their lifejackets, both when purchasing a new lifejacket and at the beginning of their boating season.

Recommendations

A wearable life jacket for each person must be aboard. These life jackets must be:

  • USCG-approved
  • The proper size for the intended wearer
  • In good and serviceable condition
  • Properly stowed (readily accessible)

When a vessel is underway with children under 13 years old, they must be wearing a life jacket unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin.