How Does a Buoyancy Aid Work?
Buoyancy aids, often referred to as buoyancy vests or jackets, are made to do just what the name suggests, give you buoyancy when in the water. They can be used for a variety of different water sports, such as paddle boarding, and are an essential piece of safety gear.
Buoyancy vests should not be seen as a substitute for a life jacket. With buoyancy aids, there is the expectation that the wearer is still capable of swimming or keeping themselves afloat while they wait for assistance. For this reason, buoyancy aids are ideal for sports where you are close to the shore and expect to end up in the water.
When buying a buoyancy aid you will often see the term “50N” within the product description. This is referring to how much buoyancy the jacket provides. 50N is standard with buoyancy aids, whereas life jackets usually have 100N or 150N.
What Buoyancy Aid Do I Need?
All buoyancy vests are made to be flexible and give you good freedom of movement. They are not sport-specific, so you need to take into account your own swimming ability and how much buoyancy you think you will need for your activity.
To get the right size, you’ll need to know your weight and chest circumference. If you’re unsure that the vest you have is the right size, a good way to check is to get someone to try to lift the jacket from the shoulders once you have put it on. If the jacket slides up a lot (over 5cm) then it is too loose and you should try to either tighten it or go for a smaller model.
If you think you’ll need protection with more buoyancy, then head over to our Life Jackets section.