How to Maintain an Inflatable Lifejacket

A lifejacket is a key piece of safety equipment when out on the water. However, inflatable lifejackets need regular check-ups to make sure you and your family stay safe. We recommend doing these checks at least yearly.


1. Perform a visual inspection

Open the cover of the jacket, remove the cylinder and check the condition of the bladder, stitching, webbing and buckles. Check the reflective tape, velcro, zips and look for rust on the CO2 cylinder.

2. Check the bladder is not leaking

Inflate the bladder using the oral tube (with a pump, not your mouth, so bacteria and moisture are not blown into it). Leave it overnight then check the bladder is still inflated and firm the next day. 

3. Inspect the firing mechanism for corrosion or damage

Fist, remove the cylinder and green retaining clip (if applicable). Once removed, pull the cord to test the lever. Check that there is little to no resistance. 

4. The automatic firing mechanism must be replaced before its use by date (for automatic lifejackets only)

Remove and check its condition. Make sure it is clean and dry and within its expiry date. Finally, refit the cartridge or a new one if needed. 

5. Check the capacity of the CO2 cylinder

Remove the cylinder from the jacket. Weigh the cylinder on a set of scales accurate to 1 gram. Compare this result to the weight listed on the side of the cylinder. If the weight is accurate, refit the cylinder as per the manufacturer's instructions, otherwise replace with a new cylinder.


When it is time to replace the cylinder in your lifejacket, you can buy individual re-arm kits from Burnsco. Just ask one of our staff if you need advice on choosing the right re-arm kit for your lifejacket.

For more information on Burnsco's lifejacket range, phone us on 0800 102041, email us, or Livechat with one of our staff via the website.