January 17, 2022 5 min read

Life vests were invented in the 17th century, making them over 400 years old. The life jacket was first shipped to sailors and fishermen and extended its service to civilians around the world in the 1800s, and after World War II, holidaymakers and people taking trips to more remote locations started to use them too. An early variety of jackets, the buoyant garment, has been around since the 1500s. The first inflatable lifejacket was patented in 1853 by a man named Charles Tayler. So, if you want to learn more about why they are so important for your life and safety keep reading this article.

Who Invented Life Jackets?

There are many people who helped invent life preservers. One important person is Maryn Pincus, who was an American inventor. She is best known for her Pincus Design, which was the first inflatable life jacket. This inflatable life jacket was patented in 1940. Another person who helped invent life jackets is Lyle Jennings, who was an American naval officer. He is best known the PFD (personal flotation device). Another person who helped invent life jackets is Poul Lian, who was an American inventor. These are some of the people who helped invent life jackets. However, by that time lifejackets were not so improved as of today's ones.

Why Life Jackets are Important

children wearing life jackets

Whether you’re rowing a boat in a lake or going on a sea cruise, lifejackets are an absolute must. Believe it or not, sometimes a life jacket can help you survive in the water. 

Many people have the misconception that life jackets are only necessary in the water, but that couldn’t be any more wrong.

They’re also a must in any situation where a person is in a boat in a lake or on a sea cruise. We recommend you buy a life jacket, it's good to have your own.

Life jackets are so important because when you’re out on the water, there are no guarantees when you need to get out of it. In order for someone to be rescued from the ocean, they need to tell the person to pull them up.

If they can’t, the person has to be located by another person in the boat

When Were Jackets Required on Boats?

The Life Jacket has been federalized in the United States since the passage of the Motorboat Act in 1940. Yet, precisely when life jackets were required on boats has been a fairly unclear topic. Prior to the passage of the Motorboat Act, life jackets were mainly regulated by individual states and posed a patchwork of requirements and regulations. The Federal Government neither required nor regulated life jackets and boat operators were left to their own accord on the issue of life jackets.

In 1940, the National Association of Power Boat Operators launched a national campaign to promote the use of life jackets. In 1956, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a statement urging boaters on boats with passenger spaces to equip themselves with life jackets.

life jackets

How Life Jackets are Produced

With the ocean’s currents becoming more unpredictable, the boating season is starting earlier and earlier. If you are planning on taking your vessel into the water, it is important to have a quality life jacket for each person on board. The United States Coast Guard recommends that each person onboard have their own life jacket. Boat owners often have a difficult time finding the time to purchase life jackets for everyone on board, but fortunately, there are many websites that sell life jackets for a reasonable price. Some life jackets are made of foam while others are made of neoprene

Why is Life Jacket Orange?

Do you know why life jackets come in orange? In the early 1900s, the navy noticed that their ships could be seen from a mile away because of the white topsides. They changed the color of their topsides to a darker color and orange topsides started to show up on a lot of commercial ships. Fast-forward a few decades and people started to realize that orange is a really bright color and can be seen from a long distance. So then, life jackets were manufactured in orange to ensure that people can be found from a long-distance away.

The color orange helps to warn people of the dangers and helps to attract attention. A traditional lifejacket as we know it is orange because it's a color that contrasts against the water and the life jacket are meant to be visible for rescue boats to find.

How to Choose the Best Life Jacket for Your Safe Travel

If extreme water sports are your thing, getting the right life jacket is essential. Start with selecting the type of activity you will be taking part in. Most people are thinking of waterskiing or wakeboarding when they are looking for the perfect life jacket. Choose the type of activity you will be taking part in and purchase your life jacket accordingly.

Another important factor is where you will be wearing the life jacket. Are you going to be in the ocean, a lake, or open water? Research the water level of the area you will be near for safety. A life jacket that has an inflatable collar is great for areas with waves, but may not be the best choice for areas with only small waves.

To Sum Up


A life jacket is an article of clothing that is designed to keep your body afloat in water. They are made of buoyant material that sits between your body and the water. Life jackets have been around since the 1700s. They were made for sailors so they could stay afloat in the event of a shipwreck. Today's lifejackets as you know it is the greatest invention that saves many lives on the water.


Did the Titanic have life jackets?

You might not believe it, but a lot of people don’t know if the Titanic was even equipped with life jackets, let alone how many it had. Although it’s hard to know for sure, it is believed that the Titanic had somewhere around 200 life jackets on board. The ones that were located at the ship's rudder were of little use because of the ship's design.

man with life jacket

What is the difference between PFDs and life jackets?

A PFD can be worn over clothes, while a life jacket must be worn under clothes. PFDs are more comfortable in warmer weather, while life jackets are more practical in colder weather. A PFD has less potential for buoyancy failure in the event the product is punctured, while a life jacket will have more buoyancy in the event of a puncture.

What were the first life jackets made out of?

Some life jackets today are made of reinforced rubber floating material, but the first life jackets were made out of cork. In England, people from the 17th century to the 19th century would use cork to make life jackets that were shaped to the human body with a drawstring at the neck.

What is the lifespan of a life jacket?

Since January 1, 1998, the U.S. Coast Guard has required all personal flotation devices (PFDs) to be labeled with their expiration date. PFDs are required to be replaced after 10 years, so any jacket older than 10 years should be replaced. The U.S. Coast Guard was originally relying on the manufacturers’ recommendations for expiration dates. However, in 1998, the Coast Guard found that manufacturers’ recommendations did not correspond to their field experience with 10-year-old life jackets.

Author - Olivia Poglianich
Olivia Poglianich          

Content Strategist

Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the surf, watersports and outdoor adventure space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.

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