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Buoyancy Aid or Life Jacket?

What's the difference between a life jacket and a buoyancy aid? Both are PFD's (Personal Flotation Devices), but a life jacket will turn an unconscious swimmer on their back to keep their mouth and nose out of the water. The downside is that a life jacket makes it much harder for a conscious swimmer to swim on their front. A buoyancy aid will not turn the wearer face up, but its primary purpose is to support a conscious swimmer and make it easy for the wearer to swim in a normal and powerful fashion when required (like when you've really got to make that eddy!). They also provide some welcome body armour on certain trips!

We do stock a range of life jackets, which we recommend for use by people who may have trouble swimming. They are also suitable for sailing, and we have models for children and babies.

For those of you who would like to take your four legged friends out on the water, check out our range of Pet Buoyancy Aids.

Which Buoyancy Aid?

Our Recreational Buoyancy Aids are aimed at intermediate and entry level paddles, and are suitable for a mix of craft, whether sit in or sit on top kayaks, canoes, SUPs or even sailing and other watersports use. The cheaper end will give you enough buoyancy for your journeys, but with no frills such as pockets or reflective details. As you move through the ranges you'll find these and more, including greater adjustablity with more straps and more flexible or formed foam panels.

There are several other styles of buoyancy aid on offer and they are suitable for either sea and touring use,  river paddling, as well as the competitive disciplines. If you are looking for buoyancy aids for outdoor centre or group work we have a range of Centre Buoyancy Aids. Centre Spec buoyancy aids need to be durable and easy to adjust. They all have clean simple lines, do not offer options of pockets and also come in bright colours for easy recognition and safety.

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Crewsaver Spiral B/Aid

From £40.92 ex. VAT

Crewsaver Spiral Lifejacket

Spiral Lifejacket

From £40.92 ex. VAT

Palm Meander Highback PFD

Meander Highback PFD

From £61.75 ex. VAT

Palm Meander PFD

The Palm Meander PFD, a highly versatile buoyancy aid that is ideal for canoeing, kayaking and sit on top paddling. It’s also perfect for stand up paddle boarding. The Meander PFD is easy to get on and off due to the front access zip, whilst the adjustable shoulders, side straps and waist belt offer a snug and secure fit. The small check pocket is ideal for a small key pouch.

From £58.12 ex. VAT

Palm Meander Women's PFD

Meander Women's PFD

From £58.12 ex. VAT

Palm Quest Kid's PFD

Quest Kid's PFD

From £33.42 ex. VAT

Palm Quest PFD

Quest PFD

From £36.32 ex. VAT

Palm Universal Kid's PFD

Universal Kid's PFD

From £36.32 ex. VAT

Palm Universal PFD


The Palm Universal, a highly versatile PFD for Sit On top Kayaking and Canadian Canoeing. The Universal PFD is a one size fits all PFD that offers plenty of adjustment. This PFD for kayaking features a front opening design that is easy to get on and off, it has lots of adjustment which gives a snug and secure fit. Once you have put the PFD on and zipped it up, you can then tension the adjustable side compression straps and also the shoulder straps. Once these are adjusted correctly, the fit should be snug, secure and comfortable. General Features -------------------- Adult and Child's Design Front Opening Design - Zipped Plenty of adjustment - Side Compression Straps - Shoulder Compression Straps Reflective Detailing --------------------

£50.00 ex. VAT £43.59 ex. VAT

Peak UK Kidz Zip PFD

From £62.85 ex. VAT

Yak Blaze B/Aid

The Yak Blaze PFD, an entry level buoyancy aid that is ideal for new comers to the sport. This is perfect for use whilst sit on top kayaking and also stand up paddle boarding. The Yak Blaze is available in 4 different sizes for the perfect fit, it also features a front zip opening; this makes it very easy to get it on and off. To ensure that you can achieve a perfect fit, it also incorporates an adjustable check belt and adjustable shoulders.

From £29.20 ex. VAT

Yak Blaze Junior B/Aid


Blaze Junior B/Aid

£32.00 ex. VAT £29.16 ex. VAT

Yak High Back B/Aid

High Back B/Aid

From £50.73 ex. VAT

Yak Kallista B/Aid

Kallista B/Aid

From £41.10 ex. VAT

Yak Kallista Junior B/Aid


Kallista Junior B/Aid

£45.00 ex. VAT £41.10 ex. VAT