Paul Worsteling: Well, life jacket trends have changed so much over the past decade. We're not using those big yellow blocks any more. We've actually gone to something slimline like this. Now, these yokes and other inflatable jackets are the trend and it's what everybody is using. They're fantastic 'cause you can wear them, they don't get in the way, but they're still gonna save your life when you pull that toggle and they inflate.
What a lot of people don't know is you actually have to get these jackets serviced. For recreational use, they recommend about every 12 months, and for commercial use, every six months. Now, you can service the jacket yourself, but it's important you go to the manufacturer's website and check exactly what needs to be done.
Simple things you can do: Check the canister. There's a canister in there that inflates the jacket. If there's any rusting or pitting, get rid of it and put a new one in. Actually weigh the canister. Should weigh approximately 33 grams. If it doesn't, put a new one in. Inside here is your bladder. Fill it orally, leave it overnight, and make sure it stays inflated. That way you'll know you got no holes. Check your material, all the stitching, to make sure it's 100 percent. And, you must write on the jacket your last date of service and keep a piece of paper on the boat somewhere to say you serviced it, just in case the authorities come past.
Always store your jacket in a dry place, and if you're going to wash it, just use fresh water, no detergents. The best things about these things, they can save your life. But, if you do get in trouble, you want to make sure when you reach for that jacket, it is working 100 percent. This fishing tip was brought to you by our friends at Club Marine.