Whether boating, surfboarding, fishing, skiing or canoeing, always wear a life vest. For small children, life vests are important even during basic swimming activities. Proper life vest usage is important to ensuring the health and safety of both children and adults. If you wear a life vest improperly, its effectiveness decreases.
Use a life vest with a "Coast Guard Approved" label to ensure the vest meets all necessary standards for health and safety.
Check the weight recommendation on the label to make sure you are not too heavy for the life vest to keep you properly afloat.
Put on the life vest and adjust the fit to wrap snugly around your chest. Most newer vests have adjustable straps for custom fitting; older life vests feature simple ties. If your vest has ties, double-knot the ties to ensure the life vest remains snugly attached to your chest.
Attach and adjust a strap between the legs of children wearing life vests; this is an important DNR recommendation to help ensure that a bulky vest does not accidentally slip off a smaller child.
Move your arms back and forth to ensure the life vest allows for full range of motion. If the vest restricts movements, opt for a different vest. Never make alterations to a life vest to increase wearable comfort; this can lead to decreased effectiveness. When wearing a properly fastened vest, you greatly increase your odds of surviving a water accident.