After an initial stage of having existing life jacket designs updated with modern labels, new life jacket designs created under a new UL standard (UL 12402) will begin to enter the market, and these life jackets may have features and innovations which are not currently allowed under the older UL standards. At least that is the hope.
The CCA recommends that, at the skipper’s discretion, all crew should WEAR A LIFE JACKET when on deck of a recreational boat. There are various types of life jackets with advantages and disadvantages, and that are appropriate for different conditions. But the best one is the one you are WEARING. The boat's skipper should establish a culture of safety and protocols, the goal of which is: don't fall overboard.
I like to think that the courses and articles and online tutorials are complete and easy to understand, but anyone who teaches knows that the best way to check comprehension is to listen to the questions that are asked. After my “story” in Lectronic Latitude was published, I received several excellent questions from a sailor whom is living on her boat in La Paz, Baja California. Alison Osinski, PhD, asked me the following:
Coast Guard Safety Alert:
This safety alert reminds all inflatable life jacket users of the importance of performing periodic maintenance on their equipment. Instances of fatal accidents where inflatable life jackets failed to properly inflate have been documented. When a life jacket fails to inflate properly, the results can be life threatening. Unknown bladder leaks may exist, fabric degradation or an improperly installed CO2 cylinder is all it takes to render an inflatable life jacket ineffective by preventing its inflation or ability to stay inflated.