Does a Life Jacket Expire?

Question:Does a life jacket expire?

Answer: There is no expiration date but you should learn to inspect your PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) as seen below I will show you some of the things we look for when checking them. If you have torn, worn and rotted PFDs you may say they have "expired".

Verify that all PFDs for recreational boats have a fully legible instruction label and the Coast Guard approval number is listed. If not, the device does not meet carriage or VSC decal requirements.

Regardless of the number required, examine ALL PFDs on board. PFDs must be free of rips or tears and the flotation material must be free of any indication of deterioration. In PFDs that use kapok, the kapok is enclosed in plastic sacks. Give each compartment the "squeeze" test. Air leaks in the sacks, evidence of moisture, exposure or hardening disqualifies the PFD. Straps and belts on PFDs must be unaltered, free of dry rot, and in perfect working condition. Metal rings or adjusting buckles must be free of excessive rust and corrosion.

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