22 May 2012
The production of vests with built in gas canisters has revolutionised the personal flotation device market, however the convenience they offer must be countered with care to ensure they work when needed.
The jackets, which use self-contained gas chambers that inflate if the wearer hits the water, offer fishers, wind surfers and kayakers a much more convenient safety device than the traditional foam jackets.
However the units use technology that must be frequently checked and serviced.
The inflation relies on a sophisticated triggering device and full and functioning canisters containing carbon dioxide.
These components often require checking to ensure they will do the job when needed.
Shop around before purchasing a self-inflating pfd and follow the care instructions diligently. The time (and cost) between checks can vary significantly, from annually to five years.
More information on PFDs is available on the sa.gov.au webpage.