Best Life Jackets For Jet Ski

by Ben Jackson
jet_ski

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 – Reviews

Bestseller No. 1
O'Neill Men's Superlite USCG Life Vest,Black/Black/Smoke:White,XL
  • USCG Approved Personal Flotation Device (Type III); Perfect For Wake Sports, Waterskiing, Tubing, And Swimming
  • Designed to fit snug for your safety. Minimal bulk design allows full mobility and easy on and off
  • Anatomically cut lightweight polyethylene foam flotation with durable coated polyester outer shell makes the vest strong yet soft and comfortable
  • Heavy-duty 1.5 inch wide webbing belts with quick release buckles allow for an adjustable fit and easy fastening
  • Size Up. When choosing a size, try one size larger for a more relaxed fit
Bestseller No. 2
O'Brien Men's Traditional Neoprene Life Jacket, Black, Medium
  • BioLite construction - Neoprene alternative that is soft, lightweight, breathable and eco-conscious
  • Front hinge and wide armholes for enhanced range of motion
  • Zip closure with 2 adjustable belts for security
  • PWC lanyard attachment ring
  • Harmonized U. S. Coast guard and Transport Canada Approved life jacket
Bestseller No. 3
O'Neill Men's Reactor USCG Life Vest, Black/Black/Black,X-Large
  • USCG Approved Personal Flotation Device; Perfect for Wake Sports, Waterskiing, Tubing, and Swimming
  • Segmented Foam Core And Anatomical Flex Points Allow Unrestricted Movement
  • Quick Release Safety Buckles And Heavy Duty Front Zipper Create an Unparalleled Sense of Security
  • Minimal Bulk Design Allows Full Mobility, While Expansion Panels Enable a Comfortable Fit
  • Relaxed Fit For The Water Sports Enthusiast Who Wants Some Room To Move
Bestseller No. 4
Hardcore Life Jacket 2 Pack Paddle Vest for Adults; Coast Guard Approved Type III PFD Life Vest Flotation Device; Jet ski, Wakeboard, Hardshell Kayak lufe Jacket; Ideal Extra Pontoon Boat Life Jacket
  • Size - This is the perfect extra vest for your boat. The adult universal size is adjustable to fit most adults that would wear a S, M, or L adult t-shirt. Coast Guard approved for persons over 90 lbs....
  • Color - High Visibility Neon Yellow color makes the user highly visible in all water situations. Five bright color options - one of them is sure to match your family style!
  • Style - Hardcore Water Sports is known for it's distinct style on all liquid surfaces. Open sides provide for a breath-able fit and provide superior benefits in paddle sports mobility. This vest is...
  • Safety - UL listed and US Coast Guard approved Type III PFD. Designed to provide a stable face-up position in calm water for a wearer floating with head tilted back. Designed for general boating...
  • Quality - UL listed life jacket is made from high quality polyester Cordura fabric and closed cell PE foam. Includes 1" adjustable straps and quick-release buckles. Hardcore Water Sports flotation...
Bestseller No. 5
Hardcore Coast Guard Type III PFD for Adults; Life Jacket Paddle Vest for Adults; Life Vest Flotation Device; Jet ski, Wakeboard, Hardshell Kayak lufe Jacket; Ideal Extra Life Jacket for Pontoon Boat
  • Size - This is the perfect extra vest for your boat. The adult universal size is adjustable to fit most adults that would wear a S, M, or L adult t-shirt. Coast Guard approved for persons over 90 lbs....
  • Color - Bright red color block with black buckles and interior.. with four different classic color options - one of them is sure to match your family style!
  • Style - Hardcore Water Sports is known for it's distinct style on all liquid surfaces. Open sides provide for a breath-able fit and provide superior benefits in paddle sports mobility. This vest is...
  • Safety - UL listed and US Coast Guard approved Type III PFD. Designed to provide a stable face-up position in calm water for a wearer floating with head tilted back. Designed for general boating...
  • Quality - UL listed life jacket is made from high quality polyester Cordura fabric and closed cell PE foam. Includes 1" adjustable straps and quick-release buckles. Hardcore Water Sports flotation...

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

Size

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.

Fit

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:

  1. Loosen the straps before you put the life jacket on and zip it up.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Material

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.

USCG Approval

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.

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