What type of jet ski life jacket do I need?

Buoyancy Aids, How to, Jet Ski, Life Jackets -

What type of jet ski life jacket do I need?

If you ride a jet ski, you need to wear a personal flotation device to keep you safe while you’re on the water. We’ve put together 5 points to explain the what’s, why’s and how’s of jet ski life jackets.

Why do I need a life jacket for Jet skiing?

You wouldn’t drive your car without a seatbelt, get on a motorbike without a helmet and you shouldn’t go out on the water without a lifejacket of some sort. Life jackets save lives. The type of jacket will depend on the activity, but they’re all designed to preserve the life of the wearer if they end up in the water. For jet skiing, a fast, exciting, adrenaline fuelled water sport, the risk of falling off is not guaranteed, but high, depending on how you drive it of course. And the fact you’ll most likely be near to shore but not within easy reach means you might need some assistance while you wait for help, or assistance while you swim back to the jet ski should you come off.

One additional benefit of wearing a life jacket whilst jet skiing is that they can help to keep you warm, especially if you’re we after falling off. However warm the air and / or sea temperature might be, you will feel cold when wet going 50mph on a jet ski.

Read the difference between buoyancy aids and lifejackets here

What sort of jet ski life jacket do I need

For jet skiing you will require a 50N buoyancy aid / vest which will assist your buoyancy when in the water. This is unlike a lifejacket which is a life-saving device. The use of a buoyancy aid assumes you are able help yourself either by swimming to safety or to tread water while assistance arrives. In the case of jet ski’s, it’s most likely function will be to assist you if / when you fall off to swim back to the jet ski to climb back on. The buoyancy aid you choose should match your body weight, should be fitted tightly to the body, and importantly should be comfortable giving you freedom of movement.

Read more about buoyancy aids here

What features do I need in a jet ski life jacket

There 3 key features you need in a jet ski life jacket:

The sizing - buoyancy aids come in various sizes relating to the wearers weight. It is very important that you buy the right jacket for your size.

The fit - The buoyancy aid should fit tightly so that it doesn’t ride up your body if you fall in the water. You don’t want it rising up or falling off over your head at the point you need it. A tight fit will also make sure it stays where it should when you’re sat down. There’s nothing worse than having a jacket pushed up under your chin while riding.

The comfort - The buoyancy aid should be comfortable even after wearing it for a long time. It should also not restrict your movement or feel cumbersome.

The material - Most buoyancy aids are made of a nylon outer but neoprene ones are also available.

Nylon advantages: Allows a variety of colours and styles, doesn’t absorb water, dries quickly, cheaper than neoprene
Nylon disadvantages: Can be less comfortable against the skin than neoprene

Neoprene advantages: Tighter, comfortable against the skin, can help to keep you warm when it’s cold (like a wetsuit would)
Neoprene disadvantages: Can be hot in hot weather, more expensive than nylon

Anything else I should think about?

A D ring on the buoyancy can be really useful to attach the jet ski kill chord to. It can be kept out of the way more easily and is a bit more secure than being wrapped it around your leg or wrist which is generally the alternative. Some also come with pockets and storage compartments which might be useful if going on longer journeys and you’d like to have things to hand.

One other thing you can consider, as looks clearly come into consideration when on a jet ski, is the colour of the jacket. You might choose to find a buoyancy aid to match the colour of your jet ski. This ensures you look your best when checking yourself out in its mirrors but can also make you more visible on the water.

Maintaining your jet ski life jacket

Maintaining your buoyancy aid is very important to make sure it performs as it should and also to help extend it’s life.

  • If it’s been used in salt water, rinse the buoyancy aid with fresh water
  • Rinse off any mud, sand, dirt, stains and sun cream. Dirt can can develop into mould which isn’t very nice and can damage the fabric and foam. Cleaning it with washing detergent and a brush can be worthwhile. Never use chlorine based bleach or a washing machine though
  • After cleaning, let the buoyancy aid drip dry before stowing. Try not to dry the buoyancy aid in direct sunlight and do not dry using a tumble dryer as this can damage the foam.
  • Check for any damage or holes and that the buckles and straps are fully attached and work properly.
  • Store in a cool, dry place and do not store under heavy objects as this can cause damage.

How much should I pay

Nylon: £20 - £80
Neoprene: £45 - £100

Buy 50N buoyancy aids here


About Tornado Lifejackets
Tornado Lifejackets are passionate about safety on the water and we want you to enjoy your activities with peace of mind. We therefore sell quality jackets that are affordable and accessible for adults and children. Our lifejackets are all from Europe's largest manufacturers complying to the highest standards for safety include ISO accreditation and CE approval. Our knowledgable team of experts are always on hand to answer any water safety questions you may have.

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