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.
Sea and Touring buoyancy aids will tend to have front zip opening, jacket style entry, although vest styles are available. At the top end you'll generally be getting lots of pockets, helping to keep your items for a long day on the water compartmentalised, with the ability to hold VHF's, PLB's, flares, whistles and sweets among other items, as well as space for a drinking water reservoir. They should be comfortable for wearing all day, with a number of straps for adjustment. There will also be plenty of reflective detailing for those times when you are paddling at dusk-dark.
There are several other styles of buoyancy aid on offer and they are suitable for either white water, entry level recreational use, 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.