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All You Need To Know About Buoyancy Aids For Dinghy’s And Boats


A buoyancy aid is a specialist flotation device designed primarily with the needs of dinghy sailing and small boat sailing (such as kayaking and canoeing) in mind. Thus it is designed so as the free movement of the kayaker or boater is minimized to the least possible extent.

When selecting a buoyancy aid, it is VITAL that it must be appropriate for the user's physique and the nature of the undertaking, (i.e.-freshwater kayaking requirements may vary quite significantly from a sea fishing expedition requirements.) Buoyancy aids come with a set of specifications and the standards which they adhere to. Some of the main specifications are

- Chest size

- Weight range.

Almost all manufacturers will provide this information, and it may be printed upon the buoyancy aid itself.

Taking each of the specifications in more detail,

Chest. The chest size is a vital factor of selecting a buoyancy aid, as the proper fit of the aid is a vital part of the safety assurance. Without achieving a proper fit the sailor might feel discomfort if the jacket is tight around the chest and his movements may be impeded. This may lead to a poor sailing experience and may even serve to exacerbate the risk the sailor faces as an ill fitting jacket may even impede his ability to avoid dangerous situations. And in the other extreme, a loose fitting buoyancy aid too big for the user has a risk of actually slipping off during an emergency! To avoid this sort of incident, high quality buoyancy aid manufacturers feature Size Charts which enables users to select which size aid can optimize his/her performance and maximize his/her safety as well.

A further point worthy of mention is that many buoyancy aids now come equipped with elasticised sides and adjustable shoulder straps, such as the Crewsaver CSR Buoyancy Aid Adult jacket. This is an added advantage and the jacket may be adjusted to optimize safety and comfort of the user.

Weight Range. The weight range is a concern for reasons very similar to the above, thus, in order to provide information for prospective buyers on which life jacket will have the ability to support their body weight, some online buoyancy aids dealing sites mention the size charts including the body weight specifications as well.

Special care needs to be taken when choosing a child's buoyancy aid as if it is too loose the child may slip out of the jacket during an emergency.

Recent developments in technology has added new extra features and has even taken ergonomics into consideration and have produced innovative designs like the dinghy sailing-high cut and fleece lined hand warmer pockets. For specialized sailing, such as competitive sailing, advanced buoyancy aids such as the Gill Compressor Vests are available. This is a non-restrictive, streamlined and low bulk CE approved buoyancy aid offering the wearer a complete range of motion and optimal comfort.