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Do life jackets and life preservers expire?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2022 | Admiralty & Maritime Defense

If you are a boat captain, your worst nightmare is probably having someone fall overboard. After all, if your vessel is moving, you may not be able to turn the ship around in enough time to locate a missing person in a wide-open sea. This is particularly true at night or during inclement weather.

To keep your crew and passengers as safe as possible, you should have enough life jackets for everyone on board. You also need to have life preservers to help during rescue operations. Still, you may wonder if these important items have expiration dates.

Most life jackets expire

Manufacturers of life jackets and preservers know how long their materials remain functional. Because all materials degrade over time, manufacturers usually print expiration dates on life jackets and life preservers. As a ship captain, you should know the expiration date of all life jackets and preservers on your vessel.

Life jackets and preservers may expire early

Even though you can use the expiration dates on your life jackets and preservers as a guide, your safety devices may break down earlier than their expiration dates. According to Sciencing, salty and humid sea air can wreak havoc on the condition of life jackets and preservers. The sun’s UV rays can also damage them prematurely.

To ensure your life jackets always offer full protection to your crew and passengers, it is important to regularly examine them or visible signs of damage, such as ripped fabric or broken buckles. Ultimately, by replacing old, damaged or defective life jackets and preservers, you do what you can to keep everyone on board as safe as possible.