A lifejacket or buoyancy aid will only be effective when:
1. You have chosen the right product/category in relation to the kind of use/activity it's required for
See in the main menu “ CATEGORIES”
2. You have chosen the right size according to the weight of the wearer.
When buying a lifejacket, take into account the clothing you will be wearing on the water. Heavy, protective, watertight clothing can counteract the working of the jacket.
3. You test or pre-wear test the lifejacket before using it (teach your children how to turn and/or float in their lifejacket)
4. You wear and maintain the lifejacket according to the enclosed manuals
5. You wear the lifejacket each time when there is a risk of falling into the water
6. You never wear it underneath your clothing or jacket, it’s always on top
The buoyancy of the lifejacket or buoyancy aid is classified in Newton. This is the performance level of the product. In general: the higher the amount of buoyancy provided is, the higher the performance level is. This performance class indicates where the jacket is suitable for and safe to wear (where to wear and what you wear). Click in the main menu on CATEGORIES to learn more.
Your weight is only of marginal interest to us. Remember your in-water weight is far less. The purpose of the weight is the sizing of our jackets. What is important is the scope of use for the jacket and what kind of clothing you are going to be wearing. This is set out in the newton performance categories.
Scope of use: Do I use the jacket for sporting on inland waters (lots of freedom of movement is needed) where help is rapidly available and with nice sunny weather or am I going sailing on the sea with full sailing gear on and extreme weather. This makes a big difference.
Clothing: Heavy (watertight) protective clothing can work negatively on the performance of the lifejacket. This mainly due to trapped-in air (in the legs and on the back). The lifejacket needs more buoyancy (Newton) than to turn you on your back in a safe position. We recommended when wearing heavy (watertight) protective (sail/work) clothing to wear a 275N lifejacket.
See a full overview in the main menu under “Categories” and “ Products “.
Basically here the same advice goes as under FAQ: What is the ratio between body weight, the scope of use and clothing?
Extra to mention is that due to the bigger body mass often, clothing is bigger as well. This can create problems with trapped-in air. That can have a negative impact on the performance of the lifejacket. The advice here is to wear a 275N lifejacket.
Fitting of the lifejacket: For a correct fit, the length of the waistbelt is important. Besto has special lifejackets with longer waistbelts. Contact us for more information.
Important for children is the correct fitting. This is even more important than the weight size on the jacket. Done the child with the lifejacket and adjust the webbings securely (2 fingers between the waistbelt and the body). The jacket must close above the belt of the child and never below. Also, check if the jacket has a tight but comfortable fit and does not slide over the body.
We would strongly advise against doing so. If a child wears a too-large jacket, the child could slip through the lifejacket. In this case, the jacket can also move on the body. This will have a negative impact on the in-water results of the jacket. For example, the child's head will not be far enough above the surface of the water to breath. This could cause a dangerous situation.
We recommend for young children (to 5/6 years) foam-filled lifejackets. Foam has the benefit that it needs far less maintenance and service. Also, the bright colours of the foam lifejacket make your child instantly visible. Children’s foams nowadays are very comfortable and lightweight to wear. The buoyancy force needed to lift a child above the waterline is directly available. Children can swim with their foam on! Note: never wear a foam jacket in combination with a disposable diaper, always use a special swim diaper.
Our inflatable lifejackets are suitable from a bodyweight of 15 kg. The inflatable lifejacket will inflate in the water and brings your child to the surface en turned onto its back. Children cannot swim with their inflatable lifejacket on! Inflatables have more turning power then foam jackets, due to the active inflation part. Inflatables can be a bit less comfortable for small children due to more stiffness of the inflatable and the weight of the jacket.
Not to forget, is that inflatables need maintenance and service, at a minimum, every 2 years. And if a child has fallen into the water and the jacket inflated you should also consider servicing the lifejacket.
The average lifetime of foam and inflatable lifejackets is ca. 10 years. An exception is made for inflatable lifejackets which can be extended to 15 years. This can only be achieved if the lifejackets are yearly serviced and approved. After the 11th to the 15th year, the lifejacket needs to be approved for use by a certified service station of the manufacturer. When a lifejacket reaches the age of 15 years, no further service is carried out.
· SOLAS/MED lifejackets: Yes, yearly mandatory service.
· ISO lifejackets: Not mandatory, but we highly recommend it. A lifejacket is there to save your life in an unforeseen event and you never know when that happens. You want to be sure that you are prepared and that the lifejacket is functioning 100% in case of an emergency.
If we look at legislation, the law does not force you to service an ISO lifejacket. But, when an accident happens and your lifejacket is not serviced resulting in serious harm, the law will point to you because you have not made serious precautions. In the end, it is your life, the lives of your loved ones who are being protected by a lifejacket. So please keep safe!
Check the main menu under “service & maintenance” for more information.
No, you are not certified to complete an official servicing yourself. You can do a pre-wear check every time before you wear a lifejacket.
Pre-wear check: Check the lifejacket before you wear it, you check the buoyancy chamber.
Also, you check if the cylinder is full, not corroded and in tight. Check the expiry date of the water activating pill. This can easily be done yourself. Do this periodically. Consult the owner’s manuals for this.
Full Service: A full maintenance service is done by an authorized service station. A pressure test will be conducted, seals/gaskets will be replaced and the lifejacket will be completely checked for optimal performance. To be able to do this, you need to have the appropriate tools, spare parts and manuals. After the service, you will get a certificate of approval.
For more information check the main menu; “Service & maintenance”
· First consult your owner’s manual for care and maintenance
· If the jacket is dirty or was in contact with salt water, rinse it off with fresh water (inflatables also on the inside, first remove water activating pill), let the jacket dry fully and fold it back in again
· Store the jacket in a dry and where it can ventilate
Yes, you can. The IATA (International Air Transport Association) regulations allow for two inflatable type lifejackets, plus two replacement CO2 cylinders to be carried in either hand or checked-in baggage. However, the authorities have left the final decision to individual airlines. So always consult/notify the Airline first for approval! Failure to declare hazardous material to the airline is a criminal offence. Any passenger may be denied boarding unless all cylinders have been removed from baggage and confiscated. It is advisable to remove any CO2 cylinder from its firing head prior to checking in or passing through customs. More information under:
· IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations; 57th edition, published 1st January 2016, Section 2.3.
· USA TSA: Prohibited Items | Transportation Security Administration
· FAA: Hazardous Materials Carried by Passengers and Crewmembers, November 25, 2015
· United States Sailing Association: Traveling with your PFD