A common issue we find in the water sports industry is that people don’t know how their life jacket should fit. We often see people reaching for vests that are too big because they feel more comfortable on dry land. But once your vest gets wet, it will stretch a little bit. So here are some big key points for how to properly size and fit a life jacket.
CGA vs. NCGA: What’s the difference?
The most common vest you’ll see out on the water is probably a Coast Guard Approved vest. The law requires you to have them in your boat. Children are required to wear them up to a certain age. (make sure to check the rules in the state that you’re boating.) The state of Maine requires children 10 and under to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets or life vests at all times while on a boat. Although adults are not required to wear life jackets while in and around a boat, everyone is required to wear them when performing water sport activities behind the boat. The life jackets you wear behind a boat can be either a CGA or NCGA vest. CGA vests consist of more foam and multiple buckles. It’s a bulkier vest in general. They offer greater floatation. Maine state regulations require that there is a CGA life jacket on board for every person on the boat.
NCGA Vests, or as we like to call them “competition vests” are a thinner, lighter weight life vest. Their focus centers around performance. They offer your greater range of motion in your arms and shoulders. Comp Vests are not considered life jackets because they do not offer you the same floatation as a CGA vest. They are perfectly legal to wear while waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, or wakesurfing.
How should my Life Jacket fit?
Your CGA vest should feel snug against your body. Once you zipper it, synch the buckles down for a closer fit. CGA vests are going to cover a wider range of body shapes and sizes because the buckle is there to tighten up the vest when you need it.
Comp vests fit best when they fit like a wetsuit. You should have to work a little to get the zipper to zip. That means that you need to pull the two sides of the vest together in order to zip it.
CGA vests offer greater floatation, and you are required to have them on the boat with you. Kids under the age of 10 are required to wear CGA Vests at all times on the water. Comp vests are not coast guard approve but they do however offer maximum comfort and a greater range of motion. Whatever your preference for life jacket fit, we can help you find it at Sun Sports+.
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Do you have more questions about life jacket fits? Then come visit us at Sun Sports+! We can show you how to properly size and fit a life jacket. Our expert staff can get you rocking the right vest. Shop online or in store! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram. Call us at 207-693-3867. Email us at email@example.com. Read our Blog!