Best Life Jacket for Jet Ski in 2019 (REVIEW GUIDE)


Jet ski woman with life vest

Whenever you are on a jet ski, wearing the best life jacket is vitally important. In order to make sure you’re getting a perfect life jacket for your needs, I have researched the market to show you the best products available and where to find them. Once you’ve finished reading this post, you’ll know exactly what you need.

​What is the best life jacket for jet ski? In my opinion, the best life jacket for jet skis would have to be the ​ O'Brien Flex V-Back Neoprane Life Vest​, which is approved by the US Coast Guard and can be used for a wide variety of water sports.

There are plenty of other options available and you may well prefer a life jacket that has a different closing system, a different style or a different shape. As you keep reading you’ll see that there are some important questions to consider before getting the perfect product for you.


​Reviews of the ​Best ​​​Life Vests for Jet Skiing

1. ​​O'Brien Men's Flex V-Back Neoprene Life Vest

O'Brien Flex V-Back Neoprane Life Vest

Th​e O'Brien Flex V-Back Neoprane Life Vest​ has a very high level of style and is available in four different color options. There are many size options available but it’s always important to double-check the sizing as life jackets often don’t fit as expected.

When it comes to the level of quality, neoprene is regarded as the best material to use on life jackets and O’Brien has used it here too. The buckle and zipper system of the life jacket is very secure and will give you a lot of confidence in the product, even if you hit the water at high speeds.

It is also a very comfortable jacket to wear, as the material and foam will be comfortable on the skin and a lot of movement is afforded to you by the segmented design that it has and the wide open arms. Overall, this is a high-quality jacket that is ideal for jet skiing.

Pros

  • ​Numerous size options
  • ​Neoprene material
  • ​Stylish design

​Cons

  • ​Short design
  • ​​Not ideal for paddling
  • ​​Can chafe with other activities

​2. ​​Stearns Adult Watersport Classic Series Vest

Stearns Adult Watersport Classic Series Vest

​In order for a life jacket to be ideal for jet skiing, it needs to have a minimal bulk design in order to reduce any drag when you hit the water. That’s exactly what th​e Stearns Adult Watersport Classic Series Vest ​​ has which makes it ideal not only for jet skiing but also other types of water sports too.

One of the best aspects of this product is that it is made of a material which is both comfortable and durable. It does that with the 200D nylon material that it has. It is able to give you a large level of flexibility but without compromising on its ability to withstand impacts and keep you afloat.

This life jacket also has lightweight floatation foam which makes it very easy to wear and it will be comfortable for a full day of use. Its open-sided design is also going to be able to give you unrestricted movement and make it very easy for you to control your jet ski.

Pros

  • ​Versatile design
  • ​Soft material
  • ​Lightweight
  • ​Open-sides

​Cons

  • ​Arm rub when paddling
  • ​​Small sizing
  • ​​Tight fit

​3. ​​CWB V-Back Neop​rene Vest

CWB V-Back Neop rene Vest

It’s always nice to wear an attractive looking product when you are out on the water and ​the ​ CWB V-Back Neop rene Vest​ is exactly that. There is a nice selection of colors, allowing you to find something that matches your personality, and their product also performs very highly.

It is approved by the US Coast Guard to give you reassurance in its quality. It features a flexible back panel and numerous front segments that are going to be able to give you a full range of movement. The two belts are going to give you the support you need along with the strong zip.

Another good feature of this product is that it has oversized armholes to allow the full movement that you need while riding on a jet ski. Neoprene is also the best material to use for this type of product as it gives a high level of durability and water resistance but with a natural stretch for comfort.

Pros

  • ​Oversized arm holes
  • ​Made from neoprene
  • ​Stylish design
  • Flexible segments

​Cons

  • ​Slow drying
  • ​​Color can bleed
  • ​​Small sizing

​4. ​​O'Neill Men's Superlite USCG Life Vest

O'Neill Superlite USCG Life Vest

O’Neill is a brand that is heavily associated with high-quality life jackets and ​the Superlite USCG Life Vest ​is another great product from them. Instead of opting for a zip system, the jacket has four strong buckles across it that is going to give you a good level of security.

As with all life jackets on this list, it is approved by the US Coast Guard and will keep you safe while you are out on the water. Its minimal bulk design provides enough buoyancy but will also help to increase your movement and decrease any drag if you hit the water.

It has a polyester shell that is going to be very durable and the polyethylene foam on the inside helps to keep the jacket very light to allow you to wear it for a whole day without any discomfort. It’s an attractive vest that comes in a few design options, depending on your preference.


Pros

  • ​Secure buckle closure
  • ​Versatile life jacket
  • ​Durable materials
  • ​Lightweight

​Cons

  • ​Slow drying
  • ​​Single thread stitching
  • ​​High fit

5. ​​Stohlquist Fit Life Jacket

Stohlquist Fit Life Jacket

For those looking for the highest level of movement possible, th​e ​ Stohlquist Fit Life Jacket might be ​ideal for you as the arms holes are very open. That lack of buoyancy in that section is replaced by a large amount of padding around the sides of the jacket and therefore you still get a very high level of support.

It has a universal fitting as it is highly adjustable to each individual. That means you’re going to be less likely to get a poor fit than you would do with other jackets that are out there on the market. The three buckles are well placed to give you a secure closure without feeling too restrictive.

The foam it uses is lightweight making it very easy to wear but it also has a low-profile design too, making it ideal for jet skis and other water sports. It has a 200D nylon outer shell & 200D oxford liner to give you a high level of durability but still at a low weight.

Pros

  • ​Oversized arm holes
  • ​High mobility
  • ​Universal sizing
  • Ideal for water sports

​Cons

  • ​Not ideal for paddling
  • ​​Quite bulky
  • ​​Cheaper materials


How to Choose a Life Jacket for Jet Skis

The advantages of a life jacket for jet skiing

​Personal watercrafts, like a Jet Ski or a WaveRunner, are mainly operated close to the shore and you may be tempted to think that one doesn’t need to be worn but this would be a reckless decision. You always need to ensure that you are fully protected when you are out on the water.

It’s important to choose the right life jacket to make sure you can be safe and comfortable. With being on a jet ski this includes having large arms holes, a low profile and a jacket that doesn’t sit too long on your body. This will allow you to have full control over the jet ski while still being safe.

On a jet ski, you can be traveling very quickly and therefore if you hit the water then it could mean that you are winded, injured or unable to swim. A life jacket is going to give you the support you need until you can recover or get rescued.

The best material

There are few different materials that can be used for a life jacket but for the shell, neoprene is seen as the best. The reason for that is it has a natural level of stretch which adds to the comfort but it is also soft, highly durable and water resistant.

Oxford cloth, nylon and polyester are all great materials that are going to be great for a life jacket and are a great choice. In terms of the internal foam of the jacket, this should be polyethylene (PE) which is lightweight and highly buoyant.

Choosing the right design

All these jackets that we’ve looked at here are Type III jackets which offer you good buoyancy but aren’t as bulky as emergency life jackets. Some are less bulky than others though and some have much wider arms holes than others.

Unless you plan on using your life jacket for paddling activities as well as jet skiing, a standard open arm design would be fine. Others though prefer to have as much freedom as possible and might want to wear a life jacket with oversized armholes.

Check the sizing

One of the critical aspects of buying one of these jackets is to ensure that you get the right size. They need to be held tightly against your body and it can be frustrating when your jacket is too tight. Many people buy it in their regular shirt size only to find out it’s too tight.

It’s a good idea to check the reviews to see what people are saying about the sizing. It’s also important to check the sizing guide that they have and if you’re unsure, it’s going to be the best idea to go for a larger size to ensure that it’s a comfortable it.

What's the best way to use a life jacket?

If you’ve ever fallen off a jet ski, you’ll know that you can end up hitting the water at a great deal of force and it isn’t pleasant. It can be at best a little disorientating and at worst it can be very dangerous and therefore you need to keep your life jacket tight.

When you hit the water, a lot of pressure is going to be applied to your jacket. If you’re wearing it loose or have not fastened it correctly, then it could break or even looser. It’s a good idea to look for jackets that have three or more buckles, or two buckles with a zip.

What to check for before buying

One of the critical aspects of getting a life jacket is to ensure that it’s approved by the US Coast Guard (USCG) as this means that it has complied with a certain level of quality. If you can’t see this then it’s best to stay well clear of the product.

As I mentioned earlier, you also want to make sure it’s a Type III jacket that you’re getting. Types I and II are for emergencies and type VI and V aren’t suitable. Once you know that, then you can use the advice that we have looked at here to make the right choice.


​My Choice for the Best ​​Life Jacket for Jet Ski

In terms of the best life jacket for jet skis, it’s hard to look past the ​ O'Brien Flex V-Back Neoprane Life Vest as this ticks all the boxes that you’re looking for. One of the first features that we can see is that it is made from neoprene which is the best material available.

Its zipper will ensure that the jacket stays closed and the two buckles will keep it tight to your body. It also has a segmented design that will give you flexibility, armholes that give you plenty of mobility and it is a Type III jacket that is USCG approved.

All the products that we have looked at here are brilliant life jackets for a jet ski. As long as you’re getting a high-quality product which meets all of the criteria that we have looked at here, it’s hard to go wrong. When you purchase your life jacket you will be able to head out onto your jet ski and have as much fun as possible, knowing you’re protected.


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