What Causes A PFD To Wear Out Over Time?

Are you going to be boating in the future? If so, you’ll want to make sure that you can enjoy yourself to the fullest. If you don’t take precautions, something bad could happen and you could get injured. Alternatively, there is a risk that you’re going to sit around and worry too much about your safety.

To avoid this, you’ll want to take safety precautions to ensure that you’re going to be safe. Wearing a PFD is a good idea. Wearing a PFD will give you greater peace of mind so you can enjoy your day on the water.

The only bad thing is that PFDs aren’t going to last forever. They’re going to wear out over time. What causes this to happen? Is it something you’ve done?

More About PFDs

Before getting into the specifics, you’ll want to learn more about PFDs. It is your personal flotation device. Your personal flotation device is vital to your safety. You need to use this equipment to ensure that you can protect yourself during your trip. Lifejackets fit into the PFD category.

If you want to be safe, you need to wear your PFD. Otherwise, you’re going to put yourself at risk. Again, you have to remember that your PFD is going to wear out overtime.

When it deteriorates beyond repair, you’ll need to replace it. You don’t want to use a damaged or worn-out PFD because it won’t offer enough protection. What causes a PFD to wear out overtime? This will be explained in greater depth.

What Causes A PFD To Wear Out Over Time?

What Causes A PFD To Wear Out Over Time?

Unfortunately, your personal flotation device will not last forever. Over time, it is going to break down. Eventually, it will become unusable. With that being said, you need to be ready to replace your PFD at some point. It could be in a few months or a few years.

Nevertheless, you need to find out what causes PFDs to wear out. First and foremost, you will find that the sun’s rays can create problems for personal flotation devices.

The sun releases ultraviolet radiation that will damage the PFD’s synthetics. The primary reason that your PFD is breaking down is that you’re using it in the sun regularly.

High temperatures will degrade the foam inside of the personal flotation device. You need to learn when to buy a new one because your old one isn’t going to protect you. Thankfully, you can test your PFD to determine if you need a new one.

If you poke your PFD and your finger goes through, you’ll need to purchase a new personal flotation device. You’ll also want to squeeze the foam in half.

Did it quickly return back to its normal shape? If it did, you’re good to go. Otherwise, you’ll need to replace your personal flotation device. Again, it is not a good idea to use a damaged one. It may not save your life when you need it the most.

Boating Accident Statistics

Unfortunately, drownings are more common than most people might imagine. The majority of fatalities are drownings that occur after boating accidents. The good news is that these accidents can be prevented. Another thing to note is that most victims were not wearing a life jacket when they died.

Wearing a life jacket will greatly reduce the risks involved. With that being said, people should always wear a life jacket when getting on a boat. If you’re going to be driving a boat, you need to make sure that every person on the boat is wearing some type of personal flotation device.

Use the tips below to protect everyone on your boat.

PFD Tips

Individuals who are going to be operating motorboats and other vessels need to go above and beyond to protect everyone on the boat. Failing to do so could lead to major issues and heartbreak in the future. The good news is that avoiding fatal problems is easy.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that everybody on the boat is going to have a personal flotation device. You’re likely going to be traveling with people of all shapes and sizes.

Therefore, you cannot rely on one-size-fits-all PFDs. They’ll work for some people but not all. Therefore, you need a variety of personal flotation devices.

Make sure you have enough to accommodate the people on your boat. You should have smaller PFDs for young children, women, and teenagers. You’ll need bigger personal flotation devices for larger adults.

It is wise to make sure that everyone is wearing a personal flotation device. Make sure that these people know where the PFDs are located so they can access them easily.

Again, make sure that the PFD fits properly. A children’s PFD should be snug. Once they are wearing the PFD, you should grab the shoulders of the PFD and lift. The ears and chin should not go through. If they do, you’ll need to switch PFDs.

Read Also: What Is The Main Advantage Of A Type IV PFD?

Testing A Personal Flotation Device

Testing A Personal Flotation Device

At the end of the day, you need to find out when you need to replace your existing PFD. If you don’t, you may up using a persona flotation device that won’t help. You don’t want this to happen since it could put your life at risk.

Thankfully, you can minimize the risks by learning how to test your personal flotation device. It is a good idea to carefully inspect the personal flotation devices on your boat before every trip. Doing so will give you greater peace of mind.

First and foremost, you should check the PFD for tears or rips. Also, thoroughly inspect the straps and zippers to make sure they’re working correctly. Another problem is illegible labels. Make sure that all materials are in excellent condition.

If you find any problems, it is pertinent to throw away the old PFDs and replace them with new ones. Using an old device could lead to problems so you don’t want to do that.

Those using inflatable personal flotation devices need to carefully check it using the same principles. Check the inflator to ensure it is working as intended. As for the CO2 cylinder, it shouldn’t have any issues.

What Not To Do With A PFD

You need to do everything you can to properly protect your personal flotation devices. After all, you want it to last. They aren’t overly expensive, but you don’t want to replace one every few weeks. To avoid such problems, you should make sure that you protect your PFD. Never use it incorrectly.

For instance, you should never place it on the ground and use it for a kneeling pad. Don’t do this unless the PFD is no longer usable. You also have to be careful about cleaning it with detergent. You need to use a safe product that is specifically designed for this purpose.

Once you’ve purchased a personal flotation device, you need to keep it in excellent condition. Make sure it always has the original labels, straps, and buckles. Never stick anything into the jacket. For instance, you should sew it or stick a snap needle into the material.

Taking Care Of Your PFDs

Taking Care Of Your PFDs

You’ll need to properly take care of your PFDs to ensure that they last. You’ll also want to make sure that they’re ready to protect you and your loved ones. For instance, you should perform a thorough inspection of your personal flotation devices at the start of the season.

Make sure that the life jacket is in excellent condition. When inspecting your PFD, don’t forget to check the straps and hardware. Everything needs to be working correctly.

Check the material for any flaws such as mildew, lumps, or saturated oil. The fabric cannot have any tears or rips. Always leave the labels on the personal flotation device.

Remember to properly store your PFDs when you’re not using them. Store them in a safe spot where they won’t get crushed or ripped.

Factors Associated With PFD Damage

Like any type of water safety equipment, personal flotation devices sustain damage every time they are used. Even worse, when PFDs are left outdoors between each use are exposed to the elements – ultraviolet rays, rain, dirt, and other debris. Experts recommend indoor storage to ensure the maximum longevity of PFDs.

Contrary to belief, the materials – kapok, balsa wood, cork, and polyvinyl – utilized for the construction of PFDs are not going to last forever. For this matter, it is recommended to store in cool, low-humidity, and -light conditions.

  • Never Store On Boat – One of the worst things you could do to your life jacket is leave it aboard the vessel when not in use
  • Avoid Sharp Objects – It is crucial to avoid contact with sharp objects, such as scissors, knives, fishing hooks, anchors, and box cutters
  • Store In Safe Location – Store indoors in a shed, garage, or basement
  • Allow To Dry Before Storing – Allow to air dry before storing to avoid mildew and mold growth
  • Remove Stains As Soon As Possible – Remove stains with mild soap and warm water.

Recommended: Best Place to Put PFDs while on a boat

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