Sailing is one of the best ways to have fun on the water. However, the wind, currents, and unpredictable conditions that make it exciting also make it perilous. Life jackets aren’t just an option when you’re on a sailboat, they’re a requirement by the law. While the Coast Guard requires that there is at least one suitable life jacket onboard for each passenger, the best sailing life jacket is one you can wear while underway.

It should feel comfortable and give you the freedom of movement your need for sailing. If you find yourself in the water, it should provide enough buoyancy to keep you afloat. Our sailing life jacket reviews feature the best sailing life vests when it comes to safety and comfort. If you’re curious what type of life jacket is best for sailors, be sure to peruse our buying guide further down.

How To Choose A Sailing Life Jacket – Buying Guide


Type of Boating

The choice of a life jacket for sailing comes down to the type of boating you engage in. III and V type life jackets, like the ones we have reviewed here, are ideal for recreational sailing as they are comfortable and allow a wide range of movements. If you find yourself in the water, they provide at least 15.5pounds of flotation.  

Related Review: Life Jackets For Boating

Dynamic Strength Testing

If you will be hitting the water at high speeds, the Dynamic Strength Testing of a sailing life jacket is an important consideration. This rating tells you about the stability of sail life jackets on high-speed impacts. If you love to be daring on the water, checking this rating will ensure the life jacket you choose will be up to the task.

Hypothermia Protection

In the event of an accident when sailing in cold water, you will not only need to stay afloat but also to keep hypothermia at bay. Insulating life jackets sailing that can help preserve your body warmth until you can get rescued are ideal.  

Maximum Freeboard

Freeboard is simply the distance from the water to your mouth when you’re in the water. The Coast Guard requires that Type III vests give you 3 inches of clearance, which is more than enough for recreational boating. All the options in our sailing life jacket reviews are coast guard approved life jackets that meet this requirement. 

Buoyancy Rating

Flotation or buoyancy lift refers to the force needed to keep the wearer’s head above the water. When sailing in calm waters, the average adult requires 7 to 12 pounds of buoyancy lift to stay afloat. The Type III life vest for adults we’ve reviewed here provide at least 15.5 pounds of flotation. 

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Color is an important feature when to comes to life jackets sail as it’s important to be as visible as possible when on the water. Having a life jacket with reflective accents goes a long way in helping rescuers spot you. Choosing a reflective sailing life jacket is especially important if you will be boating alone or in low light conditions.



Q: Why Do I Need A Life Jacket For Sailing?


A life jacket is essential to keep you safe when sailing. If you fall overboard, having a well-fitted life jacket can make all the difference between life and death. You also need sailing life jackets to comply with the law. The law requires you to have life jackets coast guard approved for everyone onboard. 

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Q: What Type Of Life Jackets For Sailing Are Out There?


There are 5 different types of life jackets. Type I and Type II vests are offshore sailing life jackets for commercial boats. Type IV devices are throwable flotation aids while Type V are designed for specific uses. Type III PFDs are the most comfortable to wear and allow a full range of movement. For this reason, they are the go-to for recreational sailors.  

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The best sailing PFD is an essential part of the checklist before heading out onto the open water. Having a sailing vest will give you the peace of mind to enjoy your inshore or offshore sailing adventures, and keep you safe in a dire situation. Hopefully this guide has given you the knowledge you need to find the best sailing life jacket for your boating activities.

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