If you own an inflatable life jacket, it is your responsibility to ensure that the life jacket is properly maintained and serviced throughout the life of the vest. Life jacket servicing is a subtle task, so if you are not familiar with the process it’s best to look to an expert.
Generally it is recommended that you perform a full life jacket inspection every 2-3 months. In the event that you notice any errors with the jacket, such as torn fabric or a malfunctioning CO2 cannister, you should submit the vest to the manufacturer.
Life Jacket Servicing
Inflatable life jacket servicing is harder than it looks. If you are unfamiliar with the design and structure of your vest, it is best to send the vest in to the manufacturer or other specialist for repair.
When to Send it In
- If there are any major tears or holes in the vest
- If there are small tears in the inflatable panels
- If the vest does not maintain it’s inflation
- If the vest cannot be repacked properly
- If rearming the canister does not solve any automatic inflation problems
When To Do It Yourself
- If the repair is cosmetic, such as a flaw on the outer edge of the vest fabric
- If the repair is to a stitch or small tear that is not intertwined with the inflatable panels
- If the canister simply needs to be rearmed
Submitting Your Life Jacket for Servicing
Your best option for servicing your life jacket is to submit it directly to the manufacturer. Many brands provide guarantees or warranties upon purchase and are happy to address any issues that come up during that time. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual for details on where to send the vest.
Remember: if there is any noticeable flaw in your inflatable lie vest, DO NOT WEAR IT. Find a temporary replacement immediately while you submit the inflatable life jacket for servicing. Even small tears and flaws in the inflatable panels can be indications that the vest will not properly inflate or maintain it’s buoyancy in the water.