We have reprinted here a section from the book River Safety about the lifesaving care of your life jacket.
(Click here to read Stan's first chapter of his book "River Safety" entitled "Five Deadly Mistakes" that contains easy to understand, valuable information about not only why to wear a PFD but how to choose the best for you and especially for those who will depend on you under the gentlest of circumstances.)
A decent PFD (not those five-dollar horse collars at the discount store) can cost anywhere from thirty-five dollars to well over one hundred dollars.
Once you have shelled out your hard-earned cash for the right PFD, treat it like your best friend. It may be just that when you least expect it.
A few emphatic "don'ts" to ensure your PFD a long and happy life:
1. Don't use your PFD as a pillow, cushion, or lunchtime lounge chair. The flotation in virtually all modern PFDs is closed-cell foam, which compresses over time. The repeated crushing of your PFD will lessen its buoyancy. If you need something to sit on, buy a Crazy Creek chair. They are cheaper and way more comfortable.
2. Don't leave your PFD lying around for extended periods (days to weeks) in the sun, wind, rain, and other elements. While PFDs are supposed to get wet and will hold up to a great deal of punishment, the foam is susceptible to ultraviolet (UV) damage over time. UV damage will harden the foam and make it less buoyant.
Likewise, the material covering the foam, usually some kind of nylon, will eventually rot. UV rays accelerate that process. Drying and storing your PFD out of the elements will extend its life considerably.
3. When packing your gear, don't put your PFD at the bottom of the pile and don't put heavy stuff on top of it. (Compression again. See #1 above.)
Read more of Stan Brandshaw's "River Safety." Just click on the picture of his book and go to Tom's TopKayaker Shop to purchase.
For Life Jackets and further reading, At Tom's TopKayaker Shop Find Tom's titles & more.
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