With their small size, inflatable life jackets keep boaters cool on a hot day, allow them to freely move around the boat, and come in a variety of belt and harness styles.
While inflatable PFDs have a reputation for comfort, they do require a little preparation for the season that’s best done at least a day before your first outing. Here’s a quick five-step prep from the Corps of Engineers and the Boat US Foundation:
- Open it up and look for any tears or abrasions.
- Remove the cartridge and check the inflation mechanism for corrosion.
- Blow up the life jacket using the manual inflation tube found on the upper left front of the life jacket.
- Wax the boat, organize a tackle box, or do other busy work while leaving the fully inflated life jacket alone for 24 hours.
- If, after the time is up and the life jacket still holds air, deflate and repack according to the instructions that usually can be found on an inside flap.
For help inspecting and repacking the belt pack and harness-style inflatable life jackets, videos can be found at www.BoatUS.org/Inflatables. The Corps of Engineers will host a Ready, Set, Wear-It Day for inflatable and regular PFDs at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16, during the Riverlands Paddle Festival. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to participate in this world record-setting event.
For information, call the National Great Rivers at (618) 462-6979 or visit www.readysetwearit.com to view last year’s results.