Buoyancy aids are essential safety gear for a number of sports, which is why it makes sense to have an *essential* guide for them. For dinghy sailing, kayaking and canoeing they’re an absolute must, and for windsurfing, kitesurfing and swimming they can be really helpful for additional flotation. They can also help withgenerally helping you feel safer on the water too, especially when trying new manoeuvres, such as learning to waterstart on a windsurfer.
The key thing to know about buoyancy aids is that, as the name suggest, they will aid your buoyancy in the water and keep you afloat. Unlike a life jacket, they won’t roll over the wearer if they’re face down in the water, or ensure the airway is clear of the water. This means it’s essential that you only wear a buoyancy aid if you are a confident swimmer and heading out in sheltered waters.
This guide will cover:
Wetsuit Outlet has a great selection of dinghy sailing buoyancy aids, suitable for those just getting into the sport as well as serious racers aiming for peak performance on the water. Take a look at our top picks for all budgets…
The HH Rider Vest is one of our bestsellers, and for good reason. It’s a simple, low bulk buoyancy aid with a zip front, meaning it’s easy to get on and offers all the support you need for your first time sailing.
If you only want the best, the Zhik P3 is the way to go. The smooth racing cut and stretchy neoprene shoulder straps are designed for high performance sailing, giving you maximum freedom of movement and comfort on the water.
For kayaking, the key difference is that these buoyancy aids will have less foam around the shoulders, to enable better upper body movement for paddling.
A great option for recreational paddling, including a low bulk design, convenient pockets and adjustable shoulders.
The brilliantly designed Extrem from Palm is a leader in its category. The Flex Fit design enables it to contain a large amount of foam floatation without it obstructing the upper body. In the latest upgrade, it’s seen improved pocket configuration, a new adjustable harness and aluminium hardware.
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