PFD Care & Maintenance

August 12, 2011

There are many things you can do to ensure your PFDs remain in good shape. Here are some Guidelines.

  • Do not alter them in any way.
  • Do not abuse or misuse them; use them only for their intended purpose. Do not use them as seat cushions, kneeling pads or boat fenders.
  • Write the name of the person who uses it on that PFD.
  • Write the date when it was new on every PFD. Reliability decreases with age and how a PFD is cared for.
  • Avoid leaving PFDs in the sun for long periods (sunlight may fade colours and will weaken fabrics).
  • Dry your PFD after use. But, do not use direct heat of any kind (it can damage the flotation material). Instead, hang PFDs on plastic hangers in a ventilated spot; in the shade if outdoors.
  • To clean them, hand wash in warm water using a mild laundry detergent. (See the article on Cleaning a PFD)
  • Your life can depend on your PFD. So, thoroughly check the condition of PFDs on a regular basis. Examine them closely for rips, tears and holes, as well as damage to seams, zippers, buckles and straps. Look for signs of waterlogging, mildew, and shrinkage or hardening of the buoyant materials.
  • Children will probably outgrow their PFDs long before it wears out. Replace when necessary to ensure proper fit.
  • Last, but not least, check that the fit and flotation performance are still adequate. (See the article on Testing Buoyancy)

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