Answer: We recommend that you check your PFD at the beginning of the season for wear and tear to the fabric and straps. Broken buckles cannot be repaired per US Coast Guard certification requirements and the PFD should be replaced. There are a few factors that will ruin a PFD quicker than usual.
UV Exposure: Leaving your PFD to dry in the sun, or storing it outside in the sun, will degrade the webbing and fabric faster.
Salt Water: We're ocean lovers too, but the best thing you can do for your life jacket is rinse it in fresh water after each use. Salt can corrode zippers, and dried salt can grind on fabric and webbing.
Not enough float: This foam can break down over time and your life jacket may not have enough flotation to keep your head above water. Using your life jacket as a seat cushion or backrest, or to protect the roof of your car from your boat (oh, we've seen it!), will damage the foam. Test your life jacket's flotation by taking it for a swim at the beginning of the season. If your head still floats, this one has more paddles in it!
Answer: MTI Life jackets are not certified for legal use in Canada. We do not submit our life jackets for testing and approval in Canada. This doesn't mean that MTI life jackets aren't safe. Still want to wear your comfortable and stylish MTI PFD in Canada? Just make sure you are carrying a legal Canadian-approved PFD on board. For additional information, please, read Canadian Regulations
Answer: CO2 cylinders are single use only and must be replaced after use.
Answer: Straight from the Transportation Security Administration: “You may bring a life vest with up to two CO2 cartridges inside, plus two spare cartridges in your carry-on or checked bag.” For more information, please see the TSA's website on prohibited items.
But in our experience, airport TSA will always take the CO2 cylinder away, regardless of what the TSA website says. Our recommendation is to put the inflatable life jacket with the CO2 cylinder disarmed in your checked bag. Never in your carry-on!
Answer: To use an inflatable life jacket you must be over the age of 16 and weight a minimum of 80 lbs.
Answer: Life jackets for children are based on weight, not age, so it is important to choose a vest that will float them properly. When trying on life jackets, make sure they are snug to the body, then test to see if tugging on the shoulder straps will cause the life jacket to lift above the child's ears and chin. If you can pull it up past their ears, the jacket is too big and will not provide a secure fit in the water.
Testing in the water is important too. Even children that are good swimmers don't always know how to react if their boat tips or they fall in. Teaching them to relax and float leaning backward is an important lesson in paddle safety.
And unfortunately, children grow, so what worked last season may be too small this season. Always check to make sure their PFD still fits properly and they have not surpassed the weight range.
Answer: Recreational and sit-on-top kayaks have seats that come up higher on the back than touring kayaks. Removing foam from the lower back portion of the life jacket makes it more comfortable to sit in seats with a high back. The mesh also allows for additional ventilation. Whether or not this style is right for you is personal preference, but if you have ever complained about a more traditional life jacket being uncomfortable while kayaking, you should try a highback PFD!
We specify two different buoyancies on our life jackets, a Minimum and a Designed buoyancy. The minimum is the US Coast Guard's required amount of buoyancy for a life jacket based on type (adult, youth, child, infant, etc.).
Our designed buoyancy is usually an average of the different sizes we make, because a sized life jacket will vary in actual buoyancy based on foam cut, density and other factors. Our life jackets will always meet the minimum requirement because we design our life jackets to exceed, roughly by 10%, the minimum buoyancy required by the US Coast Guard.
Because aerated water is less dense, extreme whitewater and ocean surf environments may call for more buoyancy, for which we recommend our Atlas PFD.