Choosing a Lifejacket or Buoyancy Aid

The type of watersports activity you are about to undertake may determine whether you require a buoyancy aid or lifejacket. A buoyancy aid is mainly used for active surface watersports and would be unsuitable 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 buoyancy jacket provides 11lbs/5.5kg of buoyancy. A 100N rated 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.

Life Jackets


A Lifejacket may help if the wearer is unconscious or unable to help themselves and is almost always the preferred option for sailing coastal waters/offshore. The type of lifejacket worn will be determined by the 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

Parents, please note: It is unlikely that a Buoyancy Aid or Lifejacket with two years growing room will be suitable or safe.

All Buoyancy Aid/Lifejackets we sell carry an EN (European Standard) number. Products newly designed, developed and introduced to market will now carry the CE mark and approved to BSEN 12402. These standards, which also have the status of British Standards, are 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.