Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does a PFD last?
- Is my MTI life jacket legal in Canada?
- What size CO2 cylinder do I need?
- Can I bring my inflatable life jacket on a plane with me?
- Is there an age requirement for inflatable PFDs?
- What should I be looking for when trying to fit a life jacket for my child?
- I’m a big guy, do I need a life jacket with more buoyancy?
- Why do some PFDs have mesh in the back?
- What is an mtab?
We recommend that you check your PFD at the beginning of the season for wear and tear to the fabric and straps. Broken buckles cannot be repaired per US Coast Guard certification requirements and the PFD should be replaced. There are a few factors that will ruin a PFD quicker than usual.
- UV exposure
- Leaving your PFD to dry in the sun, or storing it outside in the sun, will degrade the webbing and fabric faster.
- Salt water
- We’re ocean lovers too, but the best thing you can do for your life jacket is rinse it in fresh water after each use. Salt can corrode zippers, and dried salt can grind on fabric and webbing.
- Not enough float
- This foam can break down over time and your life jacket may not have enough flotation to keep your head above water. Using your life jacket as a seat cushion or backrest, or to protect the roof of your car from your boat (oh, we’ve seen it!), will damage the foam. Test your life jacket’s flotation by taking it for a swim at the beginning of the season. If your head still floats, this one has more paddles in it!
No. We do not submit our life jackets for testing and approval in Canada. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t safe, just that they are not certified for legal use in Canada. Still want to wear your comfortable and stylish MTI PFD in Canada? Just make sure you are carrying a legal Canadian-approved PFD on board.
CO2 cylinders are single use only and must be replaced after use.
The MTI Fluid, Helios, and SUP Safety Belt use a 24g CO2 cylinder with Halkey-Roberts bayonet. A threaded CO2 cylinder will not work. Leland 24 Gram CO2 with Bayonet
The MTI Neptune uses the same 24g CO2 cylinder, but also requires a dissolving bobbin in order to automatically inflate when submerged in water. Leland 24 Gram CO2 with Bayonet & Yellow Bobbin. Find out more about this Rearming Kit
The new MTI 16G Belt Pack uses a threaded end cylinder and requires a green rearm pin. Leland 16 Gram CO2 with Rearm Pin
Straight from the Transportation Security Administration website: “You may bring a life vest with up to two CO2 cartridges inside, plus two spare cartridges in your carry-on or checked bag.”
But the MTI PFDIVA says "Don't bring your inflatable PFD in your carry on! Even though the TSA website says it's ok, in our experience the airport security check-point will always pull you aside and take any CO2 cylinders away. If you "don't want to be that guy" holding up the line, pack your inflatable PFD CO2 cartridge in your checked bag!"
And remember, TSA can inspect the contents of your checked bag. So we also recommend that you disarm the CO2 cylinder from the PFD when you pack it in your checked luggage to reduce the risk of an accidental inflation.
For more information, please see the TSA’s website on prohibited items. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/co2-cartridge-life-vest
Life jackets for children are based on weight, not age, so it is important to choose a vest that will float them properly. When trying on life jackets, make sure they are snug to the body, then test to see if tugging on the shoulder straps will cause the life jacket to lift above the child’s ears and chin. If you can pull it up past their ears, the jacket is too big and will not provide a secure fit in the water.
Testing in the water is important too. Even children that are good swimmers don’t always know how to react if their boat tips or they fall in. Teaching them to relax and float leaning backward is an important lesson in paddle safety.
And unfortunately, children grow, so what worked last season may be too small this season. Always check to make sure their PFD still fits properly and they have not surpassed the weight range.
Believe it or not, no! The US Coast Guard minimum requirement for an adult Type III PFD is 15.5 lbs of buoyancy. The human body weighs roughly 7-12 lbs in water, so an adult life jacket would provide plenty of flotation.
We specify two different buoyancies on our life jackets, a Minimum and a Designed buoyancy. The minimum is the US Coast Guard’s required amount of buoyancy for a life jacket based on type (adult, youth, child, infant, etc.).
Our designed buoyancy is usually an average of the different sizes we make, because a sized life jacket will vary in actual buoyancy based on foam cut, density and other factors. Our life jackets will always meet the minimum requirement because we design our life jackets to exceed, roughly by 10%, the minimum buoyancy required by the US Coast Guard.
Because aerated water is less dense, extreme whitewater and ocean surf environments may call for more buoyancy, for which we recommend our Atlas PFD.
Recreational and sit-on-top kayaks have seats that come up higher on the back than touring kayaks. Removing foam from the lower back portion of the life jacket makes it more comfortable to sit in seats with a high back. The mesh also allows for additional ventilation. Whether or not this style is right for you is personal preference, but if you have ever complained about a more traditional life jacket being uncomfortable while kayaking, you should try a highback PFD!
An mtab is a plastic lash tab sewn to a Velcro band – a modular lash tab! If your PFD doesn’t come with a lash tab, you can now add one anywhere. Lash tabs make it easier to attach and secure a river knife, strobe light, VHF radio, etc. Not just for life jackets either, you can use on backpacks or other outdoor gear.