If you’re looking for the best life jacket for water sports then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve looked through the life jacket for water sports reviews to come up with a list of options which should ensure that you find the best watersports life jacket for you.

Getting the best life vest for water sports is essential as you have to make sure that you’re safe while you’re out on the water. If you’re on a boat then you must have access to a life jacket and they are often required for waterskiing, but with all water sports they should be a standard part of your equipment.

Knowing how to find the top-rated life vest for water sports can be tricky though, so we’ve created a top list and a buying guide to help you through the process, so read on and make your pick before you head out there and have fun on the water.

How To Choose A Life Jacket For Water Sport – Buying Guide



When it Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s) they are ranked under five different types of categories which they will be placed in before they are approved by the US Coast Guard. When you are buying a life jacket it will come under of these types which all have their different uses.

Related Post: Life Jacket Buying Guide

Type I – These are by far the biggest life jackets on the market as they are used for the most serious of emergencies. If most people were to picture what a life jacket would look like, then you would most likely picture something like this. They are big and bulky which doesn’t allow for a lot of movement, so therefore you’ll never see someone wear one if they want to do water sports.

Type II – When you’re looking for a jacket that provides a large amount of buoyancy, but isn’t as big as a Type I PFD, then that’s what a Type II is. It’s effectively a smaller version which is intended to be used in emergencies, but on calmer seas. There is a non-emergency situation these are used for as they can help infants go into the water, but their lack of mobility means they won’t be used for water sports.

Type III – If you’re looking for a PFD that you can use for most water sports, then this is what you’ll be after. This provides a lot of support on both the front and back of the body, but it will keep the arms free so you’ll have full mobility to do whatever activity that you love. They don’t have any head support either and don’t provide the same protection as a Type I or II, but these are meant to be used during types of fun and where you’d be easily rescued.

Type IV – This will never be used in water sports unless you’re in the open water without a life jacket on, that’s because a Type IV PFD is the type that you will throw in the water to help someone float. These are often seen in swimming pools or on the side of ships. These of course have no use for anyone wanting to do water sport.

Type V – This is the other PFD that you might use during water sports, but it’s more likely to be used if you’re seriously good at your sport or are doing something which might have a high impact such as waterskiing. These types are more specialized and generally the smallest of the five and therefore provide the least buoyancy. They are great though for supporting your weight before you get picked up.

Related Review: Sailing Life Jacket


This is a vital aspect when it comes to life jackets as you have to ensure that you have the correct fit before you head out onto the water. Where you can get away with a bad fit in other areas of life, you simply can’t when it comes to life jackets as you don’t want the life jacket to fail you when you need it the most.

Thankfully, these life jackets are designed so that they have a secure fit with multiple fastening solutions. Even still, it’s important to fully check any size charts that they have to make sure that you’re getting the right fit for you, if you’re unsure, then it’s best to measure yourself again so that you know you’re getting to the right product.

Life jackets need to fit in a certain way, as they need to be tight to your body, but still gives you enough comfort that you don’t feel too restricted and are still comfortable while wearing one. These jackets have a standard fastening up the middle which will be with a variety of different straps. It’s important to play with those adjustable straps often to ensure they you can get it right.

Once you think you have made the right adjustments to your jacket, then it’s time to go an test it out. You don’t want to be in a situation where you head out on to the water without testing it, only to find that when you really need it the jacket rides up to your neck and doesn’t give you the support you need.

In order to test it you simply want to head out to the calmest waters you can, preferably a shallow pool and throw yourself in. When you’re in the water you shouldn’t feel any movement with your jacket and you should be able to float with no effort from yourself. If the jacket moves around while you’re in the water, then adjustments need to be made. If the jacket can’t hold your weight while you’re in the water, then you need to get another life jacket.


The material isn’t crucial when it comes to life jackets, but there are advantages and disadvantages to the two main materials used. With the outer material of the jackets, it’s more than likely that it will be made from either nylon or neoprene as they are both great for water sports material due to their quick drying properties while being tough and durable at the same time as well.

Nylon is generally seen as the lesser of the two materials and the cheaper option. Simply put, it’s not as good as neoprene but that shouldn’t put you off getting a nylon jacket as it is still a quality material. One of its best qualities and where is actually better than neoprene is its weight, as it’s actually a lighter material.

Neoprene seems like it could have been made for water sports as it is tough and hard-wearing, but still has the flexibility that you need. It provides a little bit of stretch in the fabric which makes it a more comfortable option and it dries quickly too meaning you’d never be too wet for long if you’d been in the water. So neoprene is extremely tough, resistant to water and provides a cushioning and flexible layer so easy movement.

If you have a straight choice between to materials then you should be choosing neoprene every time as it has the edge over nylon in more categories. If you find a jacket that has the styling and design aspects that you want and it’s made out of nylon, then don’t worry about it. Nylon is a great material and another one which is great for water sports. If you have a jacket that is made from neoprene, then it is an added bonus.

Weight Capacity

Weight is clearly an important part of a life jacket as even though they have a lot of buoyancy, they can only hold a certain amount of weight. This though shouldn’t be a problem for anyone as most products can support a large amount of weight, and a lot have a great range of sizes including ‘oversized’ which should be able to hold anyone even if they are very heavy.

Most products should come with a weight rating in their description if it’s something you’re worried about, so it’s always important to check before you buy it. Some you have bought it, then it’s important to test it out in safe water just to make sure that it supports your weight among other things.


With color there is a safety issue as well as a style choice as well. If you’re going to be out there close to shore where you will constantly be surrounded by other people, then color from a safety point of view isn’t really an issue as you’re going to get rescued quickly even if you’re in a lot of distress.

If you’re going to be somewhere more remote, however, then it might be a good idea to opt for a jacket that has brighter colors so you can increase your chances of being rescued more quickly. There are a number of jackets available with bright colors if it’s something you’re worried about.


Naturally buoyancy is the number one priority when it comes to life jackets as it’s their primary and far most important use. When you’re in the water the jacket should be able to lean you backward and keep your head out of the water, even if you’re placing no effort into it.

If your jacket can’t provide this, then it’s not doing what its designed for and you need to be looking for more buoyancy. This means you either need to look into getting another jacket or getting one in a bigger size which will have a better chance of supporting you.

Related Post: Life Jacket Buoyancy



Q: What type of water sport will you be doing?


Most of the jackets in this list will be able to support you during a whole range of water sports, but there are a few other key considerations. If you want to go out kayaking with your starter kayak for example you will want a jacket that is going to support your back as you’ll be sitting down on a backrest. A float that is too low might cause issues.

If you’re looking for a jet ski vest or a water ski vest, then if you enter into the water then you might be doing it as some speed. In order for this to be as safe as possible you want an outdoor life jacket with a low profile so that it doesn’t drag when you hit the water.

As we said, the jackets in this list are great for a whole range of different activities and most will be perfect whether you’re on an SUP, boat or on a jet ski. Before you make your purchase option though, just double-check that the product you’re getting is right for the activities that you want to do.

Related Reviews: Jet Ski Life Jackets & Life Jackets For Boating

Globo Surf Overview

Getting a watersports life jacket is essential if you want to stay safe, and in some states it is the law for certain activities. Here we have compiled a great list of jackets and before you decide which one you get, simply run through the buying guide again to make sure that it ticks all your boxes.

Water sports are a great way to have fun, but there is always that element of danger as well. Not only is the element of danger but we all thought that the water needs to be treated with the greatest level of respect possible. To give it that respect and keep sage, it’s vital that you’re wearing a life jacket at all times.

The jacket that you wear should be comfortable and not ride up when you’re in the water. It’s always best to test it out and replace it should anything not be quite right. Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you need to make the best choice possible. One you have, then it’s time to head out there and have fun.

There are many different types of water sports activities out there for you to enjoy, which challenge you in different ways and give different levels of excitement. One constant should be a piece of clothing that you wear, as whatever your favorite water sport is, you should enjoy it while wearing a life jacket.

More Life Jacket Reviews:

More Jacket Reviews:

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!