With over 3.5 million people in the US alone participating in sailing each year, it’s more important than ever to understand the fundamentals when it comes to being in the open water. One of the most important pieces of safety gear for sailors is a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket. Choosing the right PFD for sailing is crucial, as it should provide both safety and comfort while on the water. In this article, we will explore the best PFD sailing jackets available on the market, taking into account their safety features, comfort, durability, and overall performance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose a PFD that conforms to minimum ISO safety standards and is US Coast Guard approved.
  • Select a PFD with design elements and features that enhance performance and comfort.
  • Consider the specific sailing activities and conditions in which the PFD will be used.
  • The Baltic Athena Auto Inflatable Lifejacket, Spinlock Deckvest Lite, Seago Seaguard 165N, and Crewsaver Crewfit+ 180N pro are highly recommended PFDs for sailing.
  • Prioritize safety and invest in the right life jacket to enhance your boating experience.

How to Choose the Best PFD for Sailing?

When it comes to choosing a personal flotation device (PFD) for sailing, there are several important factors to consider. Beyond the basic requirements of conforming to minimum ISO safety standards and being US Coast Guard approved, there are specific design elements and features that can greatly enhance the performance, comfort, and safety of a PFD.

Firstly, let’s take a look at some key life jacket features to look out for:

  1. Buoyancy and Support: A good PFD should provide adequate buoyancy to ensure your safety in the water. It should keep you afloat and provide support to help you stay in a safe position.
  2. Fit and Adjustability: A properly fitting PFD is essential. Look for a life jacket that can be easily fastened and adjusted to ensure a snug and comfortable fit. This will allow you to move freely while wearing it.
  3. CO2 Inflation Bottle Positioning: The positioning of the CO2 inflation bottle can affect the overall comfort and performance of the PFD. Make sure it is located in a convenient and accessible spot.
  4. Bladder Shape and Location: The shape and location of the bladder can impact the PFD’s ability to keep you afloat and provide support. Look for a design that maximizes buoyancy and ensures proper flotation.
  5. Crotch Strap Attachment: A crotch strap is an important safety feature as it prevents the PFD from riding up in the water. Ensure that the PFD you choose has a secure and easily adjustable crotch strap.
  6. Whistle and Oral Inflation Tube: Having a whistle and an oral inflation tube readily accessible on your PFD is crucial for attracting attention and adding an extra layer of safety.
  7. Additional Features: Some PFDs come with additional features like sprayhoods and water-activated strobe lights, which can be valuable in specific sailing conditions. Consider whether these features would be beneficial for your particular needs.

By considering these design elements and features, you can narrow down your options and select a PFD that meets your specific needs and preferences.

It’s also worth mentioning that selecting the right PFD involves considering the type of sailing activities and conditions in which it will be used. For example, offshore sailing may require a different type of PFD compared to inshore or coastal sailing.

Remember, choosing a PFD for sailing is a crucial decision that can greatly impact your safety and comfort on the water. Take the time to research and try different options to find the best PFD that fits well, meets the necessary safety standards, and enhances your overall sailing experience.

Baltic Athena Auto Inflatable Lifejacket

The Baltic Athena Auto Inflatable Lifejacket is a top choice for female sailors due to its specific design features tailored to fit women’s bodies comfortably. This life jacket is suitable for adults of all sizes and is white in color.

It features an auto inflatable mechanism, which automatically inflates the bladder when immersed in water. The Baltic Athena lifejacket is known for its comfortable fit over foul weather clothes and lightweight layers, making it easy to move around in. It is also easy to fasten and adjust in all conditions, and it can be easily repacked after use.

The bladder of this lifejacket may feel a bit tight around the neck when inflated while wearing a large foul weather jacket collar, which can be uncomfortable for some users.

Overall, the Baltic Athena Auto Inflatable Lifejacket is highly recommended for women who engage in various boating activities and prioritize comfort and performance.

Baltic Athena Auto Inflatable Lifejacket
Auto inflatable mechanism
Specifically designed for women’s bodies
Comfortable fit over foul weather clothes
Easy to fasten and adjust
Convenient repacking after use

Spinlock Deckvest Lite

The Spinlock Deckvest Lite is a high-quality coastal lifejacket designed to provide excellent performance and safety for sailors during coastal sailing activities. With its slimline design, this lifejacket offers both style and practicality. The minimalistic details ensure that there is no risk of snagging or entanglement, making it a reliable choice for sailors.

The Spinlock Deckvest Lite is not only practical but also easy to repack, allowing for quick preparation before and after every sailing adventure. Its adjustable fit ensures a comfortable wearing experience for sailors with smaller body types. Additionally, the high visibility bladder of the lifejacket enhances safety by making the wearer highly visible in the water.

However, it is worth noting that some users may find the over-the-head method of donning the lifejacket a bit restrictive, especially for those with larger bodies. Despite this small drawback, the Spinlock Deckvest Lite remains a reliable and unobtrusive coastal lifejacket that provides comfort and safety for sailors.

Seago Seaguard 165N

The Seago Seaguard 165N is a budget-friendly lifejacket that offers reliable safety and performance on the water. With its cross over bladder design, this lifejacket ensures optimal buoyancy and flotation in case of an emergency. What sets the Seago Seaguard 165N apart is its roomy casing, allowing users to add additional accessories such as a sprayhood and light for enhanced versatility and visibility.

Available in a version with a harness loop, the Seago Seaguard 165N prioritizes added safety for those who require it. While there are a few areas where the straps or toggles could be better tucked away for a sleeker look, the performance of this lifejacket in the water is outstanding.

Although it may not be the most stylish of options, the Seago Seaguard 165N excels at what matters most – keeping you safe while enjoying your time on the water. Its budget-friendly price tag makes it an attractive choice for sailors seeking a cost-effective lifejacket without compromising on quality or performance.

Pros Cons
  • Reliable safety and performance
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Cross over bladder design for optimal buoyancy
  • Room for additional accessories
  • Straps or toggles could be tucked away better
  • May not have the most stylish appearance

Overall, the Seago Seaguard 165N offers a budget-friendly option for sailors who prioritize safety and good performance in the water. While it may not boast the most stylish design, its reliability and affordability make it an excellent choice for those seeking a trustworthy and cost-effective lifejacket.

Crewsaver Crewfit+ 180N pro

The Crewsaver Crewfit+ 180N pro is a premium coastal lifejacket that offers a perfect blend of style, comfort, and performance. With its sleek black design, this lifejacket exudes sophistication and versatility, effortlessly matching any outfit. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the Crewfit+ 180N pro features a well-designed wide bladder that ensures optimal buoyancy in emergency situations.

Not only does this coastal lifejacket look great, but it also offers a comfortable fit for day-to-day wear. Its adjustable features allow for a customized fit, adapting to the unique body shape and preferences of the wearer. Whether you need extra snugness or a bit more wiggle room, the Crewfit+ 180N pro has got you covered.

Despite its premium features and sleek design, the Crewfit+ 180N pro has a few minor drawbacks to consider. The rearming process can be a bit time-consuming, requiring some patience and attention to detail. Additionally, the CO2 bottle seal might cause inconvenience for frequent flyers. Despite these minor limitations, the Crewsaver Crewfit+ 180N pro remains an excellent choice for sailors who prioritize both style and functionality in their coastal lifejacket.

Pros Cons
Stylish and sleek black design Time-consuming rearming process
Comfortable fit with adjustable features Inconvenient CO2 bottle seal for frequent flyers
Well-designed wide bladder for optimal buoyancy

Notable Quote:

“The Crewsaver Crewfit+ 180N pro is a coastal lifejacket that combines style, comfort, and performance in one sleek package. With its adjustable features and well-designed bladder, it offers a comfortable fit and reliable buoyancy when it matters most.”

TeamO Micro

The TeamO Micro is an ultra-lightweight lifejacket designed for inshore water activities. Weighing approximately 900g, it is one of the lightest lifejackets on the market. The adjustable waist belt ensures a secure and comfortable fit, while the compact design offers a slim profile.

Perfect for motorboating and day boating, the TeamO Micro provides excellent buoyancy without adding unnecessary bulk. However, it is important to note that this lifejacket is not suitable for adding additional safety gear such as lights or sprayhoods.

If you prioritize a lifejacket with a small footprint and minimal weight, the TeamO Micro is an excellent choice. Its ultra-lightweight construction allows for ease of movement and reduces fatigue during water activities.

It’s important to consider the specific requirements of your water activities and the level of safety features you require. While the TeamO Micro is ideal for inshore water activities, it may not meet the needs of those who require additional safety features or plan to use it for offshore sailing.

Key Features:

  • Ultra-lightweight design
  • Adjustable waist belt for a secure fit
  • Suitable for inshore water activities
  • Compact and slim profile

Technical Specifications:

Weight Approximately 900g
Recommended Use Inshore water activities
Safety Gear Compatibility Not suitable for additional safety gear

Ocean Safety Sport 170 ADV

The Ocean Safety Sport 170 ADV is a stylish and high-quality lifejacket that offers excellent performance on the water. Available in navy, red, and carbon color options, this lifejacket stands out with its sleek and sophisticated design.

The standout feature of the Ocean Safety Sport 170 ADV is its crossover bladder, which provides reliable buoyancy for maximum safety. The bladder is carefully designed to offer optimal flotation in case of an emergency.

This lifejacket also features side adjustments, allowing for a customized fit that ensures comfort and security while wearing it. The adjustable straps can be easily tightened or loosened to provide the perfect fit for any wearer.

While the Ocean Safety Sport 170 ADV excels in many areas, it’s important to mention a couple of minor drawbacks. Some wearers may find the bottle positioning on the bladder uncomfortable, which can affect overall comfort. Additionally, the sprayhood on the lifejacket is relatively smaller than desired.

Despite these minor disadvantages, the Ocean Safety Sport 170 ADV remains a top-notch lifejacket that meets high-quality standards. Its stylish design, crossover bladder, and overall good quality make it a reliable choice for anyone seeking a durable and effective life-saving device.

Helly Hansen Sail Safe

The Helly Hansen Sail Safe lifejacket is a lightweight option suitable for coastal sailing. Designed with the sailor’s comfort in mind, this no-frills lifejacket offers adequate performance without any outstanding features. Its lightweight construction ensures ease of movement while providing the necessary buoyancy for safety on the water.

While the Helly Hansen Sail Safe performs adequately in all areas, it may not excel in any particular aspect. However, if you value the trusted Helly Hansen brand and prefer a no-frills lifejacket, this option is worth considering.

Reliable Performance

The Helly Hansen Sail Safe offers sufficient performance to meet the needs of coastal sailors. It meets the necessary safety standards and provides the buoyancy required to keep you afloat in emergency situations.

Lightweight Design

Weighing in at a lightweight, the Helly Hansen Sail Safe ensures you can move freely and comfortably while on the water. Its lightweight construction reduces bulkiness, allowing for a greater range of motion and minimizing restrictions.

In coastal sailing, where performance and comfort are equally important, the Helly Hansen Sail Safe offers a lightweight and reliable option for those seeking a no-frills lifejacket. It may not boast exceptional features, but it provides adequate performance for coastal sailings.

Price Considerations

While the Helly Hansen Sail Safe delivers on performance and comfort, it comes at a relatively higher price point compared to other lifejacket options on the market. It’s important to consider your budget and weigh the benefits of the Helly Hansen brand against alternative choices.

If you prioritize the trusted reputation of Helly Hansen and appreciate a no-frills design, the Sail Safe lifejacket is a viable option for your coastal sailing needs.

Waveline Lifejacket

The Waveline lifejacket is a lightweight and versatile option suitable for various water sports, including sailing. With its 165N buoyancy rating, this lifejacket ensures that wearers stay afloat in the water, providing an added layer of safety.

Featuring a lightweight construction, the Waveline lifejacket allows for easy movement and flexibility during water activities. Its quick-drying material, made of a 600D polyester outer shell and coarse polyester webbing, ensures that the lifejacket dries rapidly, minimizing discomfort.

Designed for versatility, the Waveline lifejacket can be used for a range of water activities, making it a practical choice for those who engage in different sports. Whether you’re sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or participating in other water sports, the Waveline lifejacket provides reliable buoyancy and safety.

Features Benefits
Lightweight construction Allows for easy movement and flexibility
Suitable for water sports Can be used for a range of activities
Quick-drying material Provides comfort by drying rapidly
Versatile use Adaptable to various water sports

“The Waveline lifejacket offers lightweight construction and versatile use, making it an excellent choice for those who participate in different water sports.” – Water Sports Magazine


In conclusion, the right personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket is crucial for sailors to ensure safety and comfort while on the water. A well-designed and properly fitting PFD can make a significant difference in emergency situations, providing peace of mind to sailors and their loved ones.

Based on the options explored in this article, the Baltic Athena Auto Inflatable Lifejacket, Spinlock Deckvest Lite, Seago Seaguard 165N, and Crewsaver Crewfit+ 180N pro are highly recommended as the best PFDs for sailing. These PFDs stand out for their exceptional performance, durability, and comfort.

When choosing a PFD, it is vital to consider individual preferences, body type, and intended usage. Each sailor has unique needs, and finding the most suitable PFD will ensure a comfortable and safe experience on the water. By prioritizing safety and investing in the right life jacket, sailors can enhance their boating adventures and enjoy the freedom of sailing with confidence.


How do I choose the best PFD for sailing?

When choosing a PFD for sailing, consider factors such as the minimum safety standards, US Coast Guard approval, design elements, comfort, buoyancy, and support.

What is the Baltic Athena Auto Inflatable Lifejacket known for?

The Baltic Athena Auto Inflatable Lifejacket is known for its comfortable fit over foul weather clothes, lightweight design, and easy adjustability.

What features make the Spinlock Deckvest Lite a popular choice?

The Spinlock Deckvest Lite is popular for its slimline design, easy repacking, high visibility bladder, and suitability for smaller adult body types.

Is the Seago Seaguard 165N a budget-friendly option?

Yes, the Seago Seaguard 165N is an excellent budget-friendly lifejacket that offers reliable performance and the option to add a sprayhood and light.

What makes the Crewsaver Crewfit+ 180N pro a premium coastal lifejacket?

The Crewsaver Crewfit+ 180N pro is a premium coastal lifejacket known for its sleek black design, comfort, adjustable fit, and well-designed wide bladder.

Who should consider the TeamO Micro lifejacket?

The TeamO Micro is suitable for those engaging in inshore water activities and prefer a compact, lightweight lifejacket with minimal bulk.

Should I consider the Ocean Safety Sport 170 ADV for stylish and high-quality performance?

Yes, the Ocean Safety Sport 170 ADV offers a stylish design, reliable buoyancy, and adjustable fit, making it a top-notch lifejacket for sailors.

Is the Helly Hansen Sail Safe a good option for coastal sailing?

While the Helly Hansen Sail Safe is a lightweight option, it may not offer standout features compared to other lifejackets in a similar price range.

Is the Waveline lifejacket suitable for various water sports?

Yes, the Waveline lifejacket is a lightweight option suitable for various water sports, quick-drying, and made with durable materials.

What should I consider when choosing a PFD for sailing?

When choosing a PFD for sailing, consider safety, comfort, performance, and individual preferences.

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Hello! I'm Wise, a Filipina with a deep love for my country and a passion for sharing its beauty with the world. As a writer, blogger, and videographer, I capture the essence of the Philippines through my eyes, hoping to give foreign visitors a true taste of what makes these islands so special.

From the vibrant streets of Manila to the tranquil beaches of Palawan, my journey is about uncovering the hidden gems and everyday wonders that define the Filipino spirit. My articles and blogs are not just travel guides; they are invitations to explore, to feel, and to fall in love with the Philippines, just as I have.

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