Choosing a Lifejacket or Buoyancy Aid

The type of watersports activity you are about to undertake may determine whether you require a foam buoyancy aid, a foam lifejacket or a Gas Inflation Lifejacket.

A Buoyancy Aid is mainly used for active surface watersports and would bot be recommended for offshore use, particularly when wearing heavy waterproof clothing. "Newtons (N)" refers to the amount of lift provided by the aid/lifejacket. A 50N rated inherent foam buoyancy jacket provides 11lbs/5.5kg of buoyancy. A 100N rated inherent foam buoyancy aid provides 23lbs/11kg of buoyancy.

Buoyancy Aids


A Buoyancy Aid is just that, an Aid to Buoyancy. It assumes the wearer can, to a degree, help themselves to either swim back to the shore or swim enough to get themselves back to a boat. It therefore assumes that help is close at hand, that the conscious wearer can swim or is comfortable enough in the water to wait for assistance and for this reason usually worn in sheltered waters.

Parents, please note: It is unlikely that a Buoyancy Aid or Foam Lifejacket with two years (or more) growing room will offer the ideal fit and/or be safe.

Life Jackets


A Lifejacket featuring Auto Inflation mechanism will help when the wearer should enter the water and is unable to help themselves or is unconscious and is almost always the preferred option for sailing coastal waters/offshore. The type of inflation mechanism you choose - Automatic or Manual - is usually determined by the boating/water sport activity, conditions/ environment and the type of clothing worn and usually provide at least 150 Newtons.

Buy an Adult Buoyancy Aid  Buy an Adult Lifejacket Buy a Junior Buoyancy Aid or Lifejacket

All Buoyancy Aid/Lifejackets we sell are tested to meet the requirements in order to then be manufactured to the required standards. Products newly designed, manufactured, will carry the CE mark and approved to BSEN 12402 or have the original EN (European Standard) number.  Both these testing procedures also have the status of British Standards, and intended to ensure that all Lifejackets sold in this country meet very stringent requirements regarding the design, performance, materials and components used.

The information within this table is a guide only. The final purchasing decision and liability thereof is left to the individual.

When trying on your Buoyancy Aid for the first time, make sure to loosen and undo all the straps. This will make putting it on very easy. You can then tighten the straps to the desired fit.

A buoyancy aid is designed to fit on your chest to give maximum freedom of movement.  When worn, the bottom of the BA would usually rest just on or just above the bottom of the rib cage.  This ensures that the waist area is free to allow freedom of movement and comfort.