Looking after your lifejacket
It is important that boaters check their jackets regularly, prior to wearing. Remember, inflatable lifejackets are not lifejackets until they are inflated and all it takes is a fish hook, or a loose or damaged CO2 cylinder to prevent them from inflating.
It is a requirement that inflatable lifejackets must be serviced per manufacturer recommendations.
Inherently buoyant lifejackets
Lifejackets that provide buoyancy by foam rather than inflatable bladders require less maintenance but must still be kept in good condition. Check the condition of the jacket and fastenings, and wash down after use. And create a written record whenever you service a lifejacket.
How to check your inflatable lifejacket
Check for visible signs of wear and damage. Ensure all fastenings and buckles are in good working order.
Following manufacturer's instructions, reveal the inflation system and oral inflation tube. Inflate bladder using oral tube and leave overnight in a room with constant temperature. If bladder loses pressure, immediately take jacket to an accredited service agent for further tests. Do not attempt to repair jacket yourself.
Use cap attached to the oral inflation tube to deflate bladder. Invert cap and press down on valve at the top of the oral tube. Do not insert other objects into top of tube as they may damage the valve. Roll or press jacket to deflate fully.
Remove CO2 cylinder and inspect. The cylinder should be intact with no rust or corrosion. Weigh cylinder on kitchen or letter scales, ensure weight corresponds to the minimum gross weight engraved on cylinder +/- 2g. If cylinder is rusted, corroded, has been pierced or is not the correct weight it should be replaced immediately. On auto inflation jackets also ensure auto components are armed and in date. Refit cylinder to inflation system, tightening it by hand until firm. Do not over tighten.
Repack jacket as per manufacturer's instructions. Ensure manual inflation toggle is accessible and unlikely to be caught when being worn.
Set a reminder in your mobile phone, computer or calendar to alert you when it's time to have your inflatable serviced.