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Inspecting Inflatable Life Jackets


Here’s what you need to do every two to three months and at the beginning of your boating season to make sure your life jacket will still work properly when you need it.

Visually Inspect Jacket

Check the life jacket for rips, tears, holes, broken buckles, etc.

Orally Inflate …

Even automatically triggered life jackets have an orange inflation tube at the front upper left of the jacket. In an emergency, you can use it to inflate the jacket if the CO2 fails, and for testing, you can use it to make sure the jacket holds air when inflated.

Visually Inspect CO2 Trigger And Cartridge

Inspect cartridge to ensure that it hasn’t been discharged; inspect inflator for corrosion and serviceability. If the life jacket is automatically triggered by a dissolving pill or bobbin, check to make sure the pill isn’t cracked, discolored, or damaged.

Leave Jacket Inflated For 16-24 Hours

Inflate for 16 to 24 hours to ensure that it holds air. You can also immerse the life jacket to check for leaks in it or in the manual inflation tube.

If Jacket Holds Air, Repack And Use It!

Frequent inspection of your jacket can save your life! For specific information, refer to your life jacket owner’s manual. For general life jacket information please visit¬†

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BoatUS Editors

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine