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Inflatable life jackets are designed to be comfortable and to allow you to move freely about your boat, cast a fishing line, or raise a sail. Before you head out onto the water this season, take some time to inspect your inflatable life jacket and make sure it is in proper working order. A little preparation now might save your life.
Open your life jacket by pulling apart the Velcro covers or flaps and unfolding it. Inspect the bladder for any tears or abrasions. Be sure the waist strap and buckles are in good condition.
Remove the carbon dioxide cartridge to be sure it has not been discharged. You can tell that it has been discharged if there is a small puncture in the center of the threaded end. Look for signs of corrosion on the cartridge and inflator mechanism. Some inflatable life jackets have a “pill” or “bobbin” that dissolves in water to allow the life jacket to inflate. Be sure that it is in good condition. If it is not, buy a rearming kit. Some inflatable mechanisms have a green indicator that means the mechanism is in working order.
Use your mouth to blow up the life jacket with the manual inflator tube located on the upper front left side. You can use this tube as a backup way to inflate the life jacket if the inflator mechanism should fail.
Leave the life jacket inflated and do not touch it for 24 hours. Check it and be sure that it is still inflated. If it is, you can deflate and repack it. Follow the instructions located on an inside flap. You are now ready for boating season.