RUGGED LIFE JACK­ETS

Boating - - FRONT PAGE -

The sheer va­ri­ety of life jack­ets avail­able might sur­prise some boaters. Mod­els in­clude those cre­ated specif­i­cally for boaters who like to pad­dle, fish, per­form tricks at the end of a towrope, or cruise in cold wa­ters. The Mus­tang Cat­a­lyst jacket ($350) fea­tured at the top left of this page, for ex­am­ple, is built for cold-water boating. The fol­low­ing pro­vides a primer so you know what to look for if you seek a spe­cialty life jacket for your boating ad­ven­tures. —Kevin Falvey

1. FISH­ING This MIV 10 in­flat­able fish­ing vest from Mus­tang min­i­mizes weight and dis­com­fort while cast­ing. A mesh liner of­fers a cool fit, and six large pock­ets carry safety gear and fish­ing tackle. A D-ring holds clip­pers, and a sheep­skin patch se­cures flies and hooks. Man­ual in­fla­tion means you can wade with it or fish in soak­ing rain or spray; it won’t in­flate un­less you pull the cord. $250; mus­tang­sur­vival.com

2. SUP You want larger arm­holes and a shorter body, like the way this O’Brien SUP Vest is cut, for max­i­mum ease of mo­tion when pad­dling a stand-up pad­dle­board. Fea­tures such as ad­just­ments for waist, sides and shoul­ders help max­i­mize ef­fec­tive pad­dling, and zip­per pock­ets stow es­sen­tials. $59.99; obrien.com

3. KAYAK Roomy arm­holes and slim shoul­der straps min­i­mize bulk­i­ness so your arms

have full range of mo­tion. The short-cut de­sign sits higher on your torso for less re­stric­tive move­ment around your mid­sec­tion while sit­ting. Re­flec­tive ma­te­rial in­creases vis­i­bil­ity. There’s a lash tab for a sheath knife or other items, and it has ex­pand­able zip­per pock­ets. $49.99; west­ma­rine.com

4. PER­FOR­MANCE BOATING So-called “100 mph jack­ets” like this Comp Vest from Life­line are the choice of many per­for­mance boaters. The col­lar di­verts water, so it can’t catch un­der the hel­met. It in­cor­po­rates spe­cial im­pactre­duc­ing flak ma­te­rial. It has ex­tra-wide 11/2-inch leg and chest straps, and D-rings for kill switches on both sides. Avail­able in cus­tom col­ors and de­signs. $535 to start; life­lin­er­acegear.com

5. WA­TER­SPORTS Flex and fit mark top wa­ter­sports life vests such as the Ronix One Capella CGA. It is U.S. Coast Guard-ap­proved Type III, so it counts against your car­riage re­quire­ment. It fea­tures cylin­dri­cal con­struc­tion, asym­met­ri­cal seg­men­ta­tion and a water-re­sis­tant liner. $179.99; ronixwake.com

6. OFF­SHORE CRUIS­ING An im­mer­sion suit (aka Gumby suit) like Mus­tang’s MIS230HR can keep you afloat and alive in even the cold­est wa­ters. It in­cludes a wa­ter­tight face seal, built-in harness, and 5 mm neo­prene layer for flota­tion as well as pro­tec­tion against hy­pother­mia. $450; mus­tang­sur­vival.com

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