How To Size A Lifejacket

How to Size a Lifejacket – Safer Paddling Series: Episode 1 – Rapid Media

In partnership with the U.S. Coastguard and the Water Sports Foundation, instructors Paul and Kate Kuthe of the American Canoeing Association demonstrate how to properly choose and wear a lifejacket in Safer Paddling Series: Episode 1.

Three children wearing different lifejackets fitted according to weight.


Wearing a loose or unfastened lifejacket serves little purpose. Choosing a lifejacket that fits you properly will guarantee a safe kayaking experience.

By law, there should be one lifejacket per person on a boat. Although adults are not required to wear lifejackets, children under 13 must wear them whenever they are out on the water.

Sizing is important. For children, lifejackets should be selected based on weight of the child. Adult lifejackets are for anyone over 90 lbs.

Three steps to staying safe on the water.

How to snuggly zip up a lifejacket.

Step 1) Zip it.

Clipping in a life jacket.

2) Clip it.

Tightening the straps on a life jacket.

3) Tighten the straps.

To ensure proper safety, check the back label to certify each lifejacket is Coast Guard Approved.

Be smart. Be safe. Have fun.

As a United Stated Coast Guard nonprofit grant recipient, the Water Sports Foundation produces paddling safety outreach materials and distributes them through boating and paddling media providers. Paddle sports currently has an inordinately high rate of accidents and deaths that for the past five years has been increasing, while power boating stats have been decreasing during the same period. The goal is to create heightened public awareness of safer paddling making paddle sports safer and to ultimately reduce the total number of paddle sports related deaths annually.


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