Ready for your wakeboarding, water skiing or jet skiing session? Before you jump right in, it’s important to know which life jacket is appropriate for your sport.
There’s no 1 type of vest. In fact, there are five of them. All of which are designed for different environments, activities, and scenarios. Most life jackets for adults look pretty much the same with just variations of colours and style. But in actuality, there’s more than meets the eye.
Don’t get us wrong, they all have the same purpose… to save lives. However, there are some that work better in certain water conditions. For example, there are vests that are better for when you’re near the shore and those that are more suited when you’re in the middle of the ocean.
Without further adieu, let’s dive deep into the types of life jackets and which ones are best for the sport you’re gearing to get into!
Also known as the Offshore Life Vest, this is the life jacket that has the most buoyancy. It’s the jack of all trades. Use this in open waters, rough & calm waves, or anywhere that rescue may take some time. Great as boatman’s or children’s life jackets since it forcefully lifts the wearer's head in a face-up position when in water. A person’s initial thoughts would be to get this for maximum safety. However, it does come with a cost.
Because of its strong buoyant force, the L100 is usually quite heavy. Therefore, it is not as enjoyable when engaging in water sports. Not only will you feel the extra weight, but it might also mess up your balance. This one is best for seafarers or any person who plans to venture into remote waters.
Just like the L50S in terms of buoyancy but is restricted by bright-coloured selections on the upper half as per Australian Standards.
Great for activities near the shore and it’s the preferred standard for jet ski jackets. Since it does not have as much buoyancy strength as L100, it’s best used for semi-calm waters.
This is a great option for those who ride boat-like machines such as ski boats, kayaks, canoes, etc. The force of lifting your face upwards is not strong on this one, giving you more freedom of movement in case of falls.
Every watersport enthusiast’s favourite vest. It’s as lightweight as the L50 and can come in virtually any colour. It’s the recommended type for wakeboarders and water skiers. The vest is freeing, fun, and can make riders feel like they’re not wearing a life jacket at all (plus, it still does a pretty good job as a reliable flotation device).
The only drawback this type of life best has is the visibility when on water. A stylish black and grey jacket isn’t going to attract any rescuer’s eyes when you’re in danger. Because of this, it’s recommended to only use this on calm waters.
From what we’ve mentioned, the best life jacket for wakeboarding and water skiing is the L50S. But that doesn’t mean that you should just Google “L50S Life jackets for adults” and grab the first one. There are still numerous factors you should consider when purchasing your vest.
Aside from the obvious buoyancy mechanic, you should also take note of things like material, shape, holders, and even colour.
The 2021 Follow Primary Vest for example is a great example of this. Aside from its obvious style resembling Marty Mcfly’s jacket, it also sports a premium featherweight PVC foam, large armholes for free movement, and striking colour that can easily be found on the water.
Jet skiing is like riding a sports car but on water. That’s why it’s important to buckle in that seatbelt a.k.a. life vest, particularly the L50. Even though there’s a split between riders choosing L50 and L50S, the recommended vests are the former since you’re most likely going to ride your machine down a bit further off the shore.
Jet ski life jackets should arguably be more protective/visible than wakeboard, wakesurf, or water ski jackets since you’re ripping down and gliding through the water with a heavy hunk of metal that can easily throw you off. The defining feature of being able to see your body immediately on the water makes all the difference when you catch yourself unconscious after a hard flight.
The 2022 Jet Pilot RX Vest is a perfect example that uses signature quality PVC foam for that extra buoyancy while still maintaining a fairly lightweight design. It also has bright yet non-intrusive colours so that it’s easier to locate without much effort.
Skiforce is the #1 water sport shop for Australians looking at getting quality equipment without the premium cost. We sport dozens of hand-picked brands that are recognised as the best wakeboard, water ski, wakesurf, and jet ski gear in the world.
Looking for children’s life jackets? We have everything from Jet Pilot, Ronix, Ripcurl, Williams, and much more.
Life jackets for adults? All those and more so that you’ll never compromise on safety.
Born from enthusiastic Australian riders, you’re sure to find something that fits your sport and style.