Jet skiing is definitely up there with the most thrilling activities around, but with thrilling activities, you still need to be safe.
This means that life jackets are a must-have essential if you’re going jet skiing. You will need a life jacket that can deal with heavy impacts and the waves.
If you’re in the market for a new life jacket for jet skiing, we’ve got you covered.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best jet ski life jackets and a handy little buyers guide to show you what you should be looking for when selecting a life jacket.
Read on to find out our best life jackets for jet ski.
Best Life Jackets For Jet Ski - Comparison Table
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Best Life Jackets For Jet Ski - Reviews
This neoprene life jacket has a great deal of strength in addition to its water-resistant abilities. This life jacket puts your safety first and is US Coast Guard approved.
It has a highly breathable design that helps the jacket to dry much faster.
The jacket also comes with segmented panels and has a natural amount of stretchiness making it uber comfortable.
It has a fantastic fit made specifically for males looking to jet ski. It also has two massive buckles and a zip down the middle to make it easier to put on or take off, without being too loose.
The large armholes make this life jacket easy to manoeuvre in. It has a BioLite construction which is what helps with its breathability, and a cool PWC lanyard that has an attachment ring.
You’ll have to check on your sizing before purchasing though as these life jackets come two sizes too small.
The life jacket comes in a number of different colors, from a more neutral black to more fun colors such as red and dark blue. Its pricing varies depending on the colors and sizes you choose, but overall it’s fairly affordable.
This is a great pick with cool features you won’t be disappointed with.
One of the life jacket experts, O'Neill, has made a real winner here with the O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest.
It’s a great example of O’Neill’s expertise in creating high-quality water sports gear that will keep you safe.
This lifevest is USCG approved and isn’t super bulky so you can move easily in it. With large panels on the front and back, the Superlite evenly distributes foam, giving you a lower profile and a more comfortable fit.
It’s incredibly durable with extra props for simplicity. It’s also made of nylon, so it dries a bit more quickly than neoprene. The jacket doesn’t have any zippers and closes with its four straps which circle the whole body for extra strength.
They come in a variety of sizes ranging up to 6XL so this should fit you regardless of your size.
Though not as important, these life jackets also look fantastic on. They come in a variety of colors and even the more neutral options come with added accents. Particularly striking is the patriot vest which comes with some eye-catching American accents so you can really show off your American patriotism.
It’s not too expensive, but again it depends on the size and color that you choose.
This life vest is one of the most affordable on this list, but this doesn’t come without substance. A high-quality life jacket that’s USCG approved, this life jacket is designed to give you optimum peace of mind that your safety is paramount.
Coming with four straps, this life jacket provides exceptional security across the chest without compromising comfort. It’s ideal not only for jet skiing but other water sports such as wakeboarding and tubing.
It doesn’t restrict the arms so it’s easy to move in. It uses nylon, contributing to the lower price tag, and doesn’t come with much storage space. It does its job well and caters to those of larger stature and size well.
It’s very practical and effective at what it does.
It comes in three color options of red, yellow and blue and has a sleek look to it.
It’s at the lower end of the spectrum so may not be the top pick for many experienced water sports connoisseurs, but it’s a great budget pick that won’t let you down when you need it.
Another one from watersports pioneers O’Brien, the Women’s Impulse Neo Life Vest is a stylish and effective life jacket for the fashion-savvy woman out there wanting to be safe and stylish all at once.
This life jacket does an impeccable job of withstanding the high impacts of jet skiing. With a 1.5mm neoprene outer the jacket gives a high level of comfort which comes hand in hand with strength and durability.
The jacket comes with a zip closure and two straps that go across the chest for added security. It’s made of a very stretchy fabric for a nice, snug fit, and has plenty of moveability for the arms, and is extra moveable with the front hinges.
This is also made specifically for women, but there’s a men’s version too. Make sure before you purchase though, as with any life jacket, that you measure yourself properly so you have the right fit.
As said previously, the life jacket also looks incredible. It only comes in purple for the women’s edition, but it has a beautiful pattern on it that looks unique. If you’re looking for something that looks good out on the water, this is a fabulous choice.
It’s quite pricey, even at the lowest price range coming in at quite an expensive price, but it’s more than worth it for a life vest that will last and look fantastic.
Best Life Jackets For Jet Ski - Buyers Guide
There are a few things you need to be looking out for when selecting a new life jacket for jet skiing
First off, you’ll need something that fits you well. It can be detrimental wearing the wrong size, as if you get a life jacket that’s too big for you it could slip off much easier, however, if you get one that’s too small it’ll feel extremely uncomfortable and could negatively impact the whole experience for you.
It’s vital that you choose the right size for you, and that you have an awareness of a company's sizes, as with any item of clothing one company may have a different sizing system than others.
So, what about kids or infants?
Well, a lot of the picks on this list are designed for adults. Though you may find some on this list more suited to children, you would be better off looking elsewhere as for children you need accurate measurements so you don’t have a life jacket too big or too small to the child’s detriment.
It’s possible to buy a PDF (Personal Floating Device) in infant and child sizes, but as a quick rundown to measure a child’s size comes down to the weight of the child rather than the size of the chest as it is with adults.
As said previously, it can be detrimental and sometimes dangerous choosing the wrong fit for your life jacket. Jet skiing is a fast-paced sport and so there are a lot of risks involved and there are a lot of high impacts.
With this in mind, it’s essential that you get the right fit.
Another factor to consider is that life jackets can come in both men and women’s versions, so it’s worth checking the ones associated with your gender so you get a better fit. You should also consider the number of straps and how they adjust so you know that you can get a comfortable fit.
If your life jacket does not feel comfortable, the chances are it probably doesn’t fit you properly.
To get the right fit on your life jacket, you should look at doing the following:
- Loosen the straps before you put the life jacket on and zip it up.
- Once you’ve put the life jacket on, begin to tighten the straps beginning at the waist. Do the shoulder straps last is there are any - stop tweaking the straps when your life jacket feels snug.
- Ask a family member or a friend to pull up the vest in the shoulder area. It shouldn’t be able to move up above the nose or head. If even after tightening the straps it still raises to this height, the life jacket is too big for you.
Your life jacket also needs to give you enough room to move, so many life jackets have open arms with varying widths.
You need to be able to fully move your arms so if you fall out of the jet ski you can easily swim back to shore.
With so many life jackets out there made from so many different materials, it can be difficult to know what’s right for you. Material is possibly one of the most important aspects of your buying decision when it comes to life jackets.
All of the products on this list are high in quality, but there are differences in some of the materials used.
To break it down, the most common materials that are used for life jackets are neoprene and nylon. Each has its own pros and cons. Life jackets that incorporate the use of nylon are usually used for things such as paddle sports.
It tends to be a cheaper material so it doesn’t break the bank, and is very lightweight. Despite this, it’s also very durable so it can withstand a good amount of impact. It doesn’t look quite as attractive as some other fabrics out there though!
This would be your best option if you need a USCG compliant life jacket that doesn’t cost a fortune. It’s worth buying a few of them in different sizes so you can see what fits, and any spare you can pass on to family and friends when they come jet skiing with you!
On the other end of the spectrum is neoprene. Neoprene is a much higher quality material than nylon so it’s generally preferred. It also stretches naturally for a more comfortable fit and a snug feeling.
Life jackets made of neoprene are most often used for watersports and tend to look much more stylish than nylon. Naturally, with more high-quality material, this hikes up the price.
Overall, the better models are made of neoprene, but you should always check that your life jacket is USCG approved.
The whole purpose of a life jacket is to help in an emergency such as an overturned jet ski, and so they need to have the capacity to save your life in a dire situation. If you’re buying something that’s a literal lifesaver, the last thing you want to do is pick something willy nilly - that’s where USCG approval comes in.
USCG approval means that the life jacket has been approved by the US Coast Guard.
A life jacket for watersports requires much more build quality than your ordinary run-of-the-mill life jacket. A life jacket for jet skiing needs to be able to withstand a range of impacts and absolutely cannot loosen with a high-speed impact.
The USCG has categorised life jackets into different categories depending on what you’re going to be using them for. So if you’re going jet skiing you’ll need a Type III life jacket which should be easy to put on, be comfortable but not bulky to the point that you struggle to move.
They have a buoyancy level of 15.5 lbs which will aid keeping a conscious male or female’s head and chin above the water. The USCG approval comes with an extra layer of peace of mind that what you’re getting will fit the bill.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you clean a life jacket for jet skiing?
As with any item of clothing, life jackets for jet skis can get pretty dirty after a while, and even more so if saltwater dries on the jacket and leaves residue behind. You can easily clean them though by using a soap and damp cloth.
The materials used for life jackets are water resistant so they’re not too difficult to clean off.
Are they safe?
Life jackets are designed with your safety in mind, especially if you’ve followed the advice in this guide and got a life vest that’s USCG approved.
They would have gone through extensive testing to ensure they can withstand the appropriate pressure and impact and that they can keep you afloat in the event of an emergency.
With that in mind though, you need to select the right one for the sake of the activity you’re doing. A life jacket for fishing will be very different from one for jet skiing. So a jet ski life jacket won’t often have head support due to the need for increased mobility and are much bulkier than most life jackets.
This doesn’t mean they’re unsafe, they just don’t quite have the same level of support.
What other features are important with life jackets?
In addition to everything we’ve mentioned above, there are a few additional features you should look out for when selecting a life vest for jet skiing.
For example, a sound signal device is recommended by the USCG to be above every watercraft, so it would be in your benefit to carry one with you in every single life jacket you own. If you strap it to the life jacket it will be easily reachable in an emergency.
Another thing worth noting is that most life jackets come with prismatic reflective stripes, coming in either white or yellow. If your state allows jet skiing at night, it’s worth considering a life jacket with these features to make you more visible during the night.
You could also consider a waterproof flashlight if you are jet skiing at night. Finally, use a safety lanyard - this is part of the law! If you attach it to your life jacket this will be the easiest avenue, as there is a ring on the life jacket that you can easily attach to it.