2018 New York State Boater's Guide - 22
when inflated. To meet current vessel carriage requirements,
type V life jacket must be worn when underway and display an
official US Coast Guard approval number.
Inflatable Type III and Type V Life Jacket - the US Coast
Guard now approves both automatic as well as manually inflated
life jackets. Both devices are inflated with compressed carbon
dioxide gas which is stored in a replaceable cartridge. These cartridges must be replaced each time the life jacket is inflated. These
devices do require a minimal amount of maintenance, but nothing
that the average boater can't complete in the field. Always consult
the approval label on any life jacket to determine if it is approved
for the activity in which you plan to use it. Fully inflatables are not
recommended for water skiing, PWC operation, non-swimmers,
and are not approved for children less than 16 years of age.
Checking Your Life Jacket
Buoyancy is the force that counteracts the gravitational forces
on a person in water. Most of us don't have enough natural
buoyancy to keep afloat therefore the difference must be made
up by a life jacket. Be aware that our natural buoyancy changes
with body weight, clothing, and breathing.
You should periodically test your life jacket in shallow water
to see if it has sufficient buoyancy to keep you safely afloat.
Keep arms and legs below the water's surface and assume
a relaxed position. Your head and chin should be above the
Many type I and II life jackets consist of several kapok bags
sewn into the device. Each bag must be airtight. If there is a
leak, the kapok may then absorb water and loose some, if not
most, of its buoyancy. Examine all life jackets for securely attached straps and functional buckles or fasteners. Discard torn
or ripped devices.
Life jackets will last many years given reasonable care. During the winter remove them from the boat and store in a dry,
well ventilated place. Never store life jackets near oil or grease
since these substances can cause deterioration and reduce the
the devices' performance. Never use your life jacket as a boat
fender, such action may tear or rupture the device thus render22