Self-inflating life jackets, PFD (personal floatation devices) and life jackets in general are an essential piece of safety gear for those who spend time on the water. Here is what you need to know about how these devices work and why they are a necessary part of your fishing gear.

Self inflating Lifejackets work in one of two ways. One requires the user to manual trigger the gas canisters to fire and inflate the jacket once they are in the water, usually by pulling a cord. The other is automatically inflated upon immersion in water, either by pressure sensors or dissolving stoppers.

Self inflating life Vest

Why Should I Choose an Inflatable Life Vest?

There are two types of life vests. The traditional kind, and the Auto inflating one. While they both have a similar function in preventing someone from drowning or sinking into the water, an inflating vest is much more compact, and expensive.

This means it’s easier to store when not in use since it takes up less space than its bulkier counterpart! It also makes them very comfortable to wear around your torso while sailing on boats or paddle-boarding at sea because they don’t hinder movement (as much) and are much lighter.

However, if you’re looking for something durable enough to keep afloat during rough waters with waves crashing all over you’re head then I recommend getting a good old fashioned style. Some of the auto inflatable life jackets inflate when they come into contact with water, if you are kayaking, paddle boating or any other watersport that puts you in closer contact with the water then you could have a sudden surprise as it inflates by accident!

Auto Inflatable life vests, at least those that require a manual trigger, for children under the age of 16 or non-swimmers should be approached with caution. They can take a little time to inflate which may panic non swimmers or children, and if the wearer is panicking then they may not have the presence of mind to put what ever cord is needed to inflate in the first place.

However, these types of life jackets are designed to turn and hold victims face up when inflated and keep their heads above water. Which is something buoyancy aids don’t do. They are designed to help keep conscious people afloat and offer no head support.

Auto inflating devices also have a sleek design without much protection against hypothermia of bumps and scrapes. Which to a certain degree traditional life jackets do, and buoyancy aids (PFDs) offer even more protection, At least or the body core.

Self inflating life Vest

What are Auto Inflatable Life Jackets?

An automatic inflatable life vest is a personal flotation device. It contains an automatically activated element that’s designed to fill your jacket with gas as quickly as possible, and this can be really important in rough water.

Auto Inflatable life jackets are becoming increasingly common for many reasons: they’re lightweight but still incredibly durable; comfortable enough so you don’t get any anxiety or claustrophobia from wearing it; and most importantly, when properly used by fastening tightly around securely these jackets will keep their wearer buoyant for long enough to get rescued. ( most of the time!)

Life vests are a must for any boat or kayak trip. They provide you with the safety and security of being prepared in case anything should happen to your vessel, but they also have their downsides. One of these is that it can be uncomfortable to wear – this may discourage people from using them which could put themselves or others at risk. Accidents often happen really quickly and without warning.

The automatic inflatable life vest solves this problem by inflating only if its wearer falls overboard into water, or by a cord pull ( like the ones on the plane) by the wearer.

How Does Self Inflatable Life Jacket Work?

Self inflating life Vest

The self-inflatable life jacket doesn’t use air to keep the person above water. They use carbon dioxide, a gas which is less dense than some of the materials that are currently on market and offers greater buoyancy. Depending on what kind of inflatable vest you’re using (whether it automatically inflates or has a cord), how this gas deploys will vary too; but in many cheaper cases, all you have to do is pump your own personal auto inflatable lifejacket full of CO2 by manually operating or pulling an integrated cord.

Auto Inflation Mechanism Types

Life jackets come with two different kinds of auto-inflation mechanisms: those that are automatic, and others which feature a cord you can pull. This article compares the various features on life vests in order to help buyers make an informed decision about what type is best for them.

Manual (Cord Pull)

These manual life vests are affordable and operate manually. They keep gas canisters closed with the use of a stopper, which means they do not require pumping out to function properly. A high-pressure area is converted into low pressure when released through these reinforced stoppers. These require the wearer to be awake and aware to work.


The self inflatable life jacket is a pricier choice than other types on the market. It automatically inflates when it comes in contact with water, and does not require input from users of any kind. If you have children, poor swimmers or become incapacitated then these will be the best choice.

There are many different ways automatic models can work. The first is by using a dissolving tablet to hold the gas bottles closed, and it’s when submerged in water that rapidly disintegrates and inflates.

Another way though, would be this automatic life vest with which pressure gauges inflate once they’re underwater for too long. or reach a certain depth.

CO2 Cylinders Require Maintenance

Self inflating life Vest

The self-inflating life jackets are perfect for those who spend time on the water. However, you must be sure to check your CO2 canisters regularly and replace them if necessary because they may not work properly without one. You will know when it needs replacing by a pressure gauge that is located inside of these cylinders – just make sure to keep an eye out!

Astral Ronny Life Jacket PFD for Recreation, Fishing, and Touring Kayaking, Cloud Gray, M/L
  • MADE FOR SAFETY: Stay afloat with PE foam inserts; Buoyancy rating of 16 lbs; USCG Type III Approval
  • RECREATIONAL FIT: Back panel made of super thin foam and mesh that keeps you cool and lets you lean back against...
  • DURABLE: Made to last for many adventures; 200 Denier High Tenacity Nylon shell and liner; PolyPro webbing, heavy...
  • BREATHABLE LINER: Multiple front storage pockets to easily access your small gear; Mesh liner for additional...

The Difference Between a Buoyancy Aid and a Life Jacket

A buoyancy aid, also known as a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) does not automatically inflate like an auto-inflate vest. A traditional type of PFD contains shaped foam to help with arm movement. They may also come with pockets to store equipment. This is especially true of Fishing and Kayaking Buoyancy aids.

A lifejacket is a device worn by people so they can float and stay safe in the water; it has shoulder straps that are adjustable for different heights, some may be worn like a regular jacket and others will be fitted from over the head. Lifejackets are designed with a sole purpose, to keep people, awake or unconscious afloat with their head out of the water. These vests also often come with bright colors or patterns too which help other boaters and rescuers see someone who may be lost at sea.

Buoyancy aids are used primarily in kayaking, in shore sailing and water sports to help you stay afloat they are worn at all times. They are active rather than passive wear. A life jacket, auto inflatable or other wise is more often worn when danger approaches or their is a risk or immersion for a longer period of time.

Should You Wear a Buoyancy Aid or Lifejacket When You Are Kayak Fishing?

Yes, and not just for kayak fishing, accidents can happen and any personal flotation device should be worn when out on the water in a kayak or any boat.

Buoyancy aids will keep you afloat, and Lifejackets will keep you afloat and your head out of the water automatically. Most kayakers will wear a Buoyancy aid because of the range of movement they afford. However one of the other cardinal rules of kayaking is you should never go alone. So if you do lose consciousness you should have friends close by to help out.

Life jackets are much more difficult to wear while actively engaging in activities are are more of a emergency item than a everyday item. There are huge ranges of options for fishing and boating. Fishing PFDs are fairly new to the market but are worth considering if you are spending a lot of time fishing form boats or kayaks. You can check out a selection n Amazon above.

Sale 32%
Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket, Oversize, Tan
  • Six adjustment straps to cinch vest up for a snug fit
  • High foam back accommodates high back seats
  • Pockets designed for your essential gear
  • Breathable mesh lower back


Self-inflating life jackets are an important purchase for anyone who spends time on the water. There’s a variety of different styles to choose from, depending on your personal needs and what type of boating you’re doing.

It is a wise decision to invest in the best safety gear available for your desired activity. A life jacket will ensure that you are safe and sound while enjoying yourself on the water, no matter what type of vessel it might be.

You know best how you use the water near you, if you do need advice then checking out your local marina or kayak group for advice will help. When it comes to your personal safety do not under any circumstances cut corners.

Life jackets save lives!

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