Life jackets and buoyancy aids

While out on the water, both life jackets and buoyancy aids can make a big difference in keeping girls safe

Life jackets and buoyancy aids help keep girls safe on the water

There are two types of flotation devices:

  • Life jackets- keep you afloat in an upright position with your head out of the water, even if you become unconscious.
  • Buoyancy aids- keep you afloat and allow full movement.

One of these personal flotation devices must be worn:

  • By anyone who can't swim.
  • If the activity instructor considers it necessary.
  • When abandoning ship.
  • If someone feels like they want to wear one.

A life jacket can provide a higher degree of safety, so may be worn in place of a buoyancy aid, but a buoyancy aid should not be substituted for a life jacket.  

Those using life jackets must be shown how to safely use and inflate them by the qualified instructor before taking part in the activity. Buoyancy aids and life jackets must be the right size for the participant and worn in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and the classification of water.

Whether you need to use a life jacket or a buoyancy aid will depend on the nature of the activity, weather conditions and location. Follow the guidance on the activity page and speak to the qualified activity instructor. If you need more specific advice, please contact [email protected]

Before undertaking an activity, you need to make sure that any buoyancy aids and life jackets used comply with EU standards. These will have a CE mark on the label. If you are buying buoyancy aids and life jackets or the equipment in the centre has a different kite mark, please contact [email protected]