Safety is not one of them!
There are a wide range of both budget life jackets and premium life jackets on the market, and the reasons why splurging for that better vest aren’t always obvious.
In this post I’ll look at 3 reasons why you should consider investing in a high quality vest instead of a budget option.
Life Jackets Last for Years
Both types of life jackets, budget and premium alike, are designed for the long term. Purchasing a life jacket is an important decision, since it is likely something you will have on your boat for quite some time.
Because they are long lasting, that also means it’s easier to justify a higher expense upfront in order to reap the benefits of the vest for years to come. Think about how many hours you will be spending on your boat in the next 5, 8, or even 10 years.
Is that time you’d rather spend with a budget vest, or a top-of-the-line model?
Premium Life Jackets Are More Comfortable
Since you’re going to be using your vest for such a long time, it’s important to note that there is an extreme difference in the comfort level of budget and premium life jackets.
Budget life vests tend to be made of a bulky foam and thin fabric. They get wet easily and don’t shirk the water which means they’re going to be heavier and more restrictive than the higher-end models.
This discomfort also means that you’re less likely to wear the PFD, which is the worst thing you can do for your safety.
Remember, PFDs only work if you wear them.
Wider Range of Choices of Premium Brands
Finally, there is a much wider range of choices for premium life jackets, in terms of brand, design, fashion, and style.
Budget life jackets, while functional, all tend to be fairly similar. Premium vests on the other hand, provide many more options that can meet your specific need, including automatic and manual inflatable vests, belt-vests, ultra-lite vests, and fitted, neoprene vests.
If the cost of outfitting your boat with multiple premium vests is prohibitive, consider purchasing a top of the line vest for you and your partner only, while keeping a handful of lower cost solutions on board for guests and other passengers.