Watersports be it kayaking, paddling, swimming, snorkeling or boating have grown over to become the favorite kind of sports over the years. A lot of passionate and enthusiastic water geeks really love to spend most of their time on water. Thanks to state laws and regulations, safety remains to be the top concern.
While there’re several gears to keep one safe in the water, a life jacket stands atop. It helps afloat when you do not know how to swim or are unable to swim due to high tide, unconsciousness or any such unfortunate reason. Just wearing a life jacket has saved the lives of thousands of people.
There is a wide range of life jackets for water sports available on the market. Choosing the best one for yourself or family can be a huge challenge. We have eased it down for you by choosing our best 5 picks from highly well-reputed and reliable brands.
5 Best Life Jackets for Water Sports Reviews
Here go in-depth reviews of the top 5 life jackets for watersports 2022.
The O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest stands atop our list of the best life jackets. If you are looking for topnotch protection on budget, this Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is designed to deliver exceptional security at a low price.
Made of nylon, this life jacket features a polyester shell. The manufacturer has ensured robustness given its overlock stitching. This makes it a strong and durable life jacket. The polyethylene foam is really lightweight and so, the jacket does not feel heavy when you wear it. Instead, it offers a soft and comfortable feel, resulting in the best water skiing experience.
On the front, it has four straps to make sure that the life jacket remains in place. Moreover, its mesh design allows quick drainage and so, it dries really quickly when hung in air.
Fully Mobility and Protection: The design of O’Neill Superlite is not bulky at all. This way, it provides full mobility and convenient movements. When it comes to the armhole size, it has a strategic measurement, keeping in view mobility and functional needs of a floater. Also, it comes approved of USCG, further adding to the reliability and credibility. Standing in an affordable range, we highly recommend picking O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest for its worth every dollar you spend.
The Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest is another popular life jacket for watersports. A number of water athletes have used and suggested this PFD to enjoy great comfort and protection in the water.
Built of heavy duty nylon and high quality floatation foam, it comes off as a lightweight, soft and comfortable life jacket. It is an ideal jacket for all the outdoor activities you enjoy on the shore or in the water.
Usually, life jackets do not come with a mesh at the back and it is really uncomfortable when sitting on high seats. In case of Onyx MoveVent, you can say goodbye to that discomfort. Its mesh designed lower back allows easy sitting. Also, the mesh design on back and pockets assist in quick drying.
The zipper design helps in quick wear and secure fit. You need not waste time in fitting the buckles in place.
Another good thing about this life jacket is adjustable shoulder straps. These straps feature neoprene pads from ease and comfort. This way, your body won’t feel fatigued.
SOLAS Grade Reflective Material: What makes Onyx MoveVent watersports life jacket stand out is that it comes with SOLAS grade reflective material for added strength and protection. Also, it is a USCG approved Type III life jacket and so makes a trusted purchase. Being lightweight, affordable and secure, you are good to get your hands on Onyx MoveVent Dynamic USCG PFD.
Here we have another high-rated life jacket for watersport lovers. O’Brien is a well-reputed name in the watersports industry. Over the years, it has offered some of the best life jackets to the market. Just like all the other O’Brien life jackets, O’Brien Men’s Biolite Traditional Life Jacket features topnotch design and built.
With the flex design, this life jacket tends to be very comfortable. Also, the armholes are big enough to allow full mobility and easy movement. The neoprene material further adds to the comfort and durability. Also, its biolite material and breathable design helps in quick drying.
When it comes to the armholes, it has large armholes to offer significant range of motion. Coming in all the neon and bright colors, it ensures high visibility. This makes the floating person noticeable from a great distance. You can keep an eye on your loved ones or call for emergency help in a moment.
Dual Closure for Double Protection: The unique feature of O’Brien Biolite Traditional life jacket is its dual closure. It features a zipper topped by two straps that fit snugly in place. It doubles the safety and protection. Being a mid-range life jacket, it costs under $100 and so, makes a budget purchase.
O’Neill Men’s Assault USCG Life Vest is another life jacket on our list coming from the house of O’Neill. It is a high-end life jacket that guarantees amazing quality and ultimate protection. Let’s look into this USG approved PFD perfect for watersports.
Made of heavy duty, imported nylon and nytrolite foam, this life jacket is lightweight, breathable and able to suffer high impact. Its unique manufacturing makes it 3 times lighter than regular life jackets on the market.
O’Neill Assault features minimal bulk design to ensure full mobility. It comes with wide armholes to prevent any kind of discomfort. Also, its unique anatomical flex points allow unrestricted movement for all of your favorite watersports.
Furthermore, this high quality life jacket comes with a lumbar padded lower back which adds a great amount of support to your core. It prevents fatigue and tiredness.
It also offers dual closure. Once you zip your jacket, you need to buckle up two straps on the front. It provides added strength and protection in the water.
10% More Buoyant: The best thing about O’Neill Men’s Assault is that it is 10% more buoyant and helps sustain more time floating on the water. This is due to the fact that it absorbs about 15 to 20% less water than regular PVC foam. Coming in black color, it remains highly visible. However, the black color might absorb more heat but works perfectly well in cold water. Coming under $200, it is definitely a reliable life jacket to invest in!
Stearn Child Classic Life Jacket is the best option on the list for toddlers. Coming approved of the U.S. Coast Guard, it is safe to wear this life jacket for any watersport.
When it comes to the front design, it features three straps. These straps are wide to add extra strength. When fitted, these offer a good snug to keep your child firmly in place. Also, it has open sides to allow enough movement in the water. So if your child is in the learning stage, he won’t feel any hindrance. This life jacket is made to provide comfort with security.
Made of nylon shell, this life jacket includes PE floatation foam for added protection. Also, it ensures durable construction and longevity.
Leg Strap for Extra Protection
The best thing about the Stearn Child Classic Life Jacket is the leg strap that has to fit between legs. This makes sure that the jacket does not move up while your child is swimming or floating on water.
Supports 30 to 50 lbs: As far as weight capacity is concerned, this life jacket supports 30 to 50 lbs. of weight. So if your child’s weight ranges between 30 – 50 pounds, you must consider this as a reliable choice. Coming around $25, this is a great life jacket for toddlers and young children. With its secure fit, extra protection and affordable price, you might not get a better life jacket out there!
Life Jackets for Water Sports FAQs
1. How long does a life jacket last?
On average, a life jacket lasts for 10 years on the water. However, the exact timespan depends on the manufacturing. Always look into quality and usage instructions to make the most out of your life jacket.
2. Does a life jacket help afloat if you cannot swim?
Yes, that’s the main purpose of wearing a life jacket. It keeps your mouth out of water so airway passage is not blocked. It helps you breathe and stay alive in challenging circumstances.
However, make sure it is securely fit so no strap unbuckles or the jacket slips off. In such cases, one can drown and be hard to save.
3. How much is the average weight capacity of a life jacket?
An average person requires 7 to 12 additional pounds to stay afloat on water. So, the average weight capacity of a life jacket is 7 to 12 pounds as a life jacket is not meant to hold the entire weight of a person.
Manufacturers do mention the average weight capacity to help you know if your life jacket is suitable for your weight.
4. Do I really need to wear a life jacket for water sports?
Yes, especially if you age under 13. It is required by state laws to wear a life support on water if you are younger than 13 years. However, it is good to check with your state regulations to know the exact age limit.
Other than that, it is always good to add some safety, no matter how experienced you are. So, we recommend wearing a life jacket when out on the water.
5. Should I get a tight life jacket?
A life jacket should be snug but not too tight. There must be enough room for movement and flexibility. Place the straps, buckles, zip securely in place to check if you are getting the right size. Also, it is best to go through the size guide as it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Right as you step out on water, a life jacket is the most essential thing you need to have with you. Especially if you are a beginner, you need to wear a life jacket when taking your watersports lessons or practicing all alone. It saves you from all the unfortunate incidents.
For the first time, picking a life jacket can be daunting. With our top 5 picks reviewed above, go with the one that suits your requirement and budget to make a confident purchase!