Yesterday, my father “casually” thumbed through the REI catalog, and asked if I saw anything that piqued my interest. My birthday is coming up and I am certain he is at a loss of how to celebrate it. However, my brother recently got a new PFD (“personal flotation device” aka life jacket) which I am jealous of; it has such better pockets than mine and looks sweet! My kayaking vest isn’t as cool as my Brother’s--isn’t it always that way?--but from a practical standpoint my life vest works perfectly fine. Or so I thought…
I went into the garage and checked out my life vest. Turns out my kayaking vest was rated up to 90lbs. Mind you, I have had this life vest for 15 years and have gone from pre-teen, to teen, to adult in that time frame. I passed the 90 lbs mark long ago! Gulp, my life vest certainly needs to be upgraded.
My first reaction to this realization was gratefulness. You might find this strange. You might also think I am making a mountain out of a molehill. But last Memorial Day weekend, my father, uncle, and I were fishing in the San Juans and spotted a capsized boat in bad weather. When we pulled up both individuals had a life jacket on, but one man’s life vest was so loose that his head was more than a foot underwater and he was unconscious. Best to avoid making someone do CPR on you.
For those who are wondering, yes, both men are perfectly okay, and I got a fancy, new paddling PDF that is rated for both my weight, kayaking, and waterskiing.
As the weather gets hot, please remember not only to wear a life jacket, but to wear a lifejacket that fits properly, is rated for your weight, and is rated for your activity. I personally have had great service and recommendations from both REI and Evo. It is worth going to talk to someone who can help you fit and choose a life vest that is right for you! Check out the following links for more information and retailers!