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Life Jacket Safety Tips to keep you safe on the water!

People wearing life jackets

Boating lesson 101: wear your life jacket! Boating season is upon us and being safe on the water is of utmost importance. The number one must have for boating safely is your life jacket(s). Even if you have years of experience or you are a strong swimmer, or if you have already have expereince with Ocean City pontoon boat rental, a life jacket can still save your life. Its a simple piece of equipment to have with you. Wearing your life jacket is similar to wearing your seat belt in your car, it’s for your own safety!

When it comes to jetskiing, wearing a life jacket is NOT an option! If an accident does occur, a life jacket can be the difference in survival. There are different types of life jackets and different requirements for life jackets depending on age or watersports activity you are doing. If you are planning on an Ocean City pontoon boat rental or jetski rental, then most companies will provide you with the proper life jackets. When renting from Odyssea Watersports, we provide each of our customers with the correct life jacket for the watersports rental activity you have chosen.

Life Jacket Safety Tips:

Properly Approved: First, you want to make sure your life jacket is US Coast Guard Approved. You can do this by reading the label on the inside of your life jacket. The label will say whether it is approved by the United States Coast Guard and what it is approved for (waterskiing, PWC, boat under a certain size, etc.)

Proper Fitting: (see image below) A life jacket needs to fit properly. You can test this by putting it on and clipping all the buckles closed. Now, with both hands, pull up on the shoulder straps of the life jacket. The life jacket should NOT come above your ears. If it does, it’s too big and could potentially float off of you if you end up floating in the water. You should feel secure, comfortable and be able to adjust if needed but remember, this is for your safety and not a fashion statement.


Appropriate for Intended Activity: Certain life jackets are used for different water activities. To determine whether or not you have the correct life jacket, you can read the inside label to see if it’s intended for the watersport activity you are partaking in.

  • The United States Coast Guard and many states require wearing a life jacket for the following:
    • water skiing, wakeboarding, or other towed activities
    • anyone onboard of a personal watercraft (life jackets are marked water skiing or PWC)
    • while participating in white water activities
    • sailboarding

Condition: Make sure your life jacket is not dry rotted, ripped, missing floatation, missing buckles, etc. If you have a life jacket with any of these issues please throw it away or alert an employee of the rental company you are using. Again, damage or dry rot will hinder the ability to keep you afloat once in the water.

Use of ALL Buckles: No matter how many buckles your life jacket has, they ALL need to be buckled! Only buckling 1 or 2 of them will make it almost useless to even wear as it may allow you to float out of it. If it’s too small for you, it most likely will not keep you afloat! If you are able to buckle them all but the life jacket is loose with lots of movement, you can again float out of it when in the water. Find a life jacket that you can buckle all buckles and have it be secure on your body. If you have questions or concern about your particular life jacket, ask another boater or an emplyooe at the rental facility you have chosen.


photo credit: Safe Kids, Altru Health Systems

Boating regulations for life jackets: This can vary from state to state so we recommend checking with your state boating safety officials first. If renting a pontoon boat from Odyssea Watersports, you will have life jackets on board your boat for every person.  Any person 13 years of age or younger will be required to wear a life jacket for the entity of the rental. This is simply for the safety of our customers.

Boating, jetskiing, wakeboarding etc are all fun activities for you and your family or friends but not taking life jacket safety seriously, you can turn a fun day into one of panic and or tradegy. This article was not written to scare any potential boaters, instead it is intended to potential save your life the next time you get on that boat or jetski. Will you need your life jacket, maybe not but do you really want to find out the hard way?

Have a question, concern or need direction to find the correct life jacket for you? Reach out to us threw our social media pages or call 410-723-4227. We are here to help and a guide you where we can and hope to see you enjoying the water on your next boating adventure.

Some of the above information was provided by the United States Coast Guard website. For more detailed information please click here to be directed to their website.