CLEVELAND — The U.S. Coast Guard is adopting a new labeling system for its life jackets designed to help people make the right decisions about which one to wear on the water.
The new system includes labels with pictures that make it easier for boaters to pick and choose their life jackets depending on which activities they’re doing.
The old life jacket labeling system broke each down into types numbered one through five.
Boaters would choose from each type depending on the conditions of the water and the activity they were engaging in.
Officials say that type-based labeling was confusing for some, so over the past five years they’ve come up with a new system.
The labels still have numbers, but also drawings that illustrate which life jacket is needed for gentle or rough water.
“A big misunderstanding is that people think a life jacket is a life jacket, they’re not all equal. That’s one thing this labeling system should help to tone down so that you actually get one that is correct for your environment. It needs to fit, it needs to be the right age, weight all that, otherwise it won’t properly do what its intended to do which is safe your life,” Petty Officer Brian McCrum, with the U.S. Coast Guard, said.
If you don’t have one of these newly labeled life jackets— don’t panic.
The old ones are still alright to use as long as they’re in good condition and the right size for everyone on your boat.