Boating & Marine Accessories

What are the Six Types of Buoyancy Aids?

A life jacket should be selected to match the specific boating practice. A buoyancy limit of 7-12 pounds is practical for most adults.

Inflatable Life Jacket

Here are six of the most effective buoyancy aids in the market:


An offshore life jacket is a reliable option for keeping the boater safe in open and rough waters. This style of life jacket is designed to automatically turn the wearer so their face is up while also providing a good 18-22 pounds of buoyancy. A heavy-duty safety aid of this nature is the preferred option for those sailing in remote locations that might need more time to wait for the rescue services.

Near shore

A near shore buoyancy vest is similar to the classic style of the life jacket and is a practical choice for those sailing in inland or calm waters. Plus, these adult or child size life jackets are more effective when fast rescue is likely. This is a much more cost-effective alternative of the offshore version and certain brands still have the ability to turn the person face-up if knocked unconscious.

Buoyancy aid

A versatile buoyancy aid is the most comfortable option and a practical choice for a variety of water sports and activities. This life jacket comes in several sizes and styles and best in situations that permit a fast rescue service. Also, the basic buoyancy aid isn’t able to help with turning the unconscious person.


A throwable device (horseshoe buoys, ring buoys, and boat cushions) is made and designed to be easy to throw into the water to help a person that has fallen overboard. This type of device isn’t intended to be worn. Several of these throwable devices should be kept on board in the event of an emergency – but they aren’t a practical choice for the unconscious person, non-swimmers, or small children.

Specific use

A specific use device consists of the hybrid life jackets, inflatable life jacket w/ ORC/ISAF harness, work vests, pullover vests, deck suits, and boardsailing vests. Most of these wearable life jackets or vests are only practical for certain situations.


An inflatable life jacket comes with an inflatable chamber that is built to give the desired level of assistance once inflated. Prior to inflating the life jacket, it is significantly smaller in size compared to the more traditional life saving devices. This type of life jacket can provide a variety of functions. It can vary in relation to the inflation mechanism, in-water performance, and amount of buoyancy. By determining the details of the specific life jacket it is possible to determine the specific use of the device. Plus, for extra safety most of the inflatable life jackets come with a built-in back up system.

Each buoyancy device comes with an owners manual or jacket label which will clearly outline the specific use of the intended device.

In summary

A approve life jacket (at the appropriate size) is needed on board for each person to comply with current rules and regulations. Plus, a throwable devise should be included on boats at 16-ft or more.

Small Boats & Paddle Crafts

Folding Boat: Assemble and Break-down is Fast and Easy

A compact-sized folding boat – at 6-ft (1.8-m) to 12-ft (3.6-m) – is designed to fold for convenient transportation and storage. Foldable boats are constructed in lightweight materials, such as man-made fabrics, and finished with supporting framework.

Folding KayakThis matches the need of the boater who cannot store or trail a full-size boat. These simple-to-erect, disassemble, and pack in a storage bag collapsible boats, require up to 2-hours to set up.

Some of the folding boats offer a solid transom for mounting a small 2 to 4HP petrol or electric engine, but some will accept a 9.9HP engine. Clean, quiet, and fuel-efficient, these small engines come with user-friendly features for better control and maneuverability. If auxiliary power is desired, anything more than 10HP is not recommended due to the lightweight nature of the crafts. In general, portable boats will do with only a 2HP engine.

Ease in set-up

Designed for ease in set-up. By virtue most, if not all the parts of the foldable craft are readily available. This means in the event of a loss or damage to a particular piece, it is a simple process of having the item replaced or repaired in isolation of all other parts. A dual benefit results – minimal downtime and low, to minimal repair costs. Also, a further point to note is that vessels cannot be punctured, as seen with the inflatable.

Compact design

An appropriately designed portable vessel sized to pack small in a storage bag offers complete ease in stowing in the trunk of a vehicle en route to a paddling adventure or stored in times of non-use at home – under a bed, in a closet, inside an athletic locker, etc. Outside in a garage or workshop are also options. A ceiling hoist system provides a great choice for prolonged storage or winterization.


Folding boats have become a lot more common of late. Non-folding aluminum and inflatable boats are still a lot more popular in the marine marketplace, despite the popularity of certain collapsible boats, such as the Porta-Bote, Folbot, and Pakboat for instance. Each of these can easily rival or better some of the similar deployed boats of a rigid construction. Also, these boats often retail at a price higher than the inflatable or rigid counterparts.

Type of construction

Folding boats are available in several different categories. Kayaks, canoes, and dinghies are the most tried and tested – can come manufactured with outer skins made of a resilient water-resistant fabric – with some companies incorporating air-pockets to aid in buoyancy and stability. Supporting materials for the frames are split between a hard-wearing plastic, a lightweight aluminum or the dependable wood – although some small boats can feature a combination of these.

If used in open waters or heavy weather, bear in mind the freeboard height (distance from waterline to upper-deck level) as the small dinghies and folding boat often have a low freeboard – the higher the sides of the hull, the drier, and more comfortable the boat will stay.

In summary

All in all, an extremely compact folding boat, kayak or canoe is perfect for light tour trips on quiet, flat waters, as a tender dinghy for larger vessels, or used in conjunction with a recreational vehicle, such as a full-size motor-home.