There are several categories of vests and it is essential to choose the right category or else you will lack the buoyancy to float without swimming, or be hindered in your movements.
Wakeboard and water ski" type vests. Be careful, these vests, very thin and aesthetic, are not approved as flotation aid vests. Their role is to ensure a minimal protection to the impacts for the riders
Legally, this type of vest is not called a life jacket but a buoyancy aid, or IFE: Individual Buoyancy Equipment.
The EN ISO 12402-5 standard specifies the safety requirements for buoyancy aids with a buoyancy of at least 50 newtons.
It applies to people who can swim well, are close to shore, and have nearby help or assistance. They are inexpensive but of limited use.
They do not turn an unconscious person and require active participation from the user.
Reference: for France, here is the complete text in pdf of division 240.
These vests are easily recognizable by their head support. They are equipped with whistles and subcutaneous straps. Some are also equipped with a retrieval strap.
A good idea for your unmoored passengers or if you are uncomfortable in the water
Small size with a percussion bottle that inflates the vest. They are designed to navigate on "dry" boats. When in contact with water, the vest inflates automatically via a cellulose pellet that releases the CO2 cylinder release system. They are therefore not recommended for small boats sailing, which is a wetter sport. Indeed, if it is inflated, this vest becomes very cumbersome.
Olympic series athletes spend more than 300 days on the water, in 470, Nacra, Laser etc.. The major brands have taken advantage of their collaboration with these athletes to considerably improve comfort.
The style is subjective, but recently, manufacturers have made real efforts and the vests are rather aesthetic and stylish. Here is our selection to follow.
We wish you nice sailing ! Stay safe !
Easy SailingHow to make your kids love sailing
Inside ReversoSustainability : not just a concept
Customer storiesSimon Van der Linden : Swiss sailing
Customer storiesJean-Luc Fardin : my Reverso sails-out every day
Customer storiesLaure Lipinski : The Reverso effect