When I am out and about fishing I often have people comment to me about me wearing a life jacket, especially when I am fishing rock marks. In truth I am not wearing a life jacket, but instead I normally wear a flotation vest, or in the winter and I am on the beach it’s a  flotation suit. I have been wearing one for years and it never ceases to amaze me that very few other people seem to bother. Thankfully I have never ended up in the water and needed to use it, but I have had some nasty falls on the rocks and who knows, maybe one day I will need it.

I hear all sorts of reasons why anglers don’t wear them, the most common is that they are bulky and cumbersome, or they get in the way. I will admit that when you first put one on, it does feel a little odd and even slightly restrictive. However you get used to it very quickly and you adapt your fishing style to take into account the way the jacket or vest fits. I feel naked if I don’t wear mine now and the fact that I have a vest that has loads of pockets to put all my lures and bits and pieces in, is a bonus. I never need to carry a bag with me any more.

That said, there are different kinds of life preservers available in the market, each with its own particular use. Over the next few weeks we will be reviewing different life jackets and flotation aids as it takes knowing the pros and cons of each to find out which one works best for you.


Inflatable Life Jacket

An inflatable life jacket is different from the traditional vests that are filled with foam. An inflatable vest is a design that can be filled with air manually or automatically.


  • It is comfortable. It weighs a lot less than vests that are filled with foam. It is also a lot cooler to wear when the weather gets warm. Other than that, they are also not bulky which makes it one of the best benefits from this foam-filled kind of life saver.
  • It is convenient. An inflatable vest can be designed to inflate automatically. This really comes in handy if you ever get into an accident. As soon as you hit water, it will inflate straight away. It can also be inflated through the use of a pull tab.
  • It provides greater buoyancy. An inflatable vest can keep your head above water more than traditional vests. Having this kind of convenience is great in case you get stranded in the water for quite some time.


  • It requires more maintenance. Compared to a traditional vest, there are lots of things you need to attend to when it comes to the inflatable variety. You have to check the status of the inflater to make sure the cartridge is installed properly. You also have to frequently check the vest for leaks.
  • It is easier to damage. You have to be more careful with inflatable vests because a simple poke with a sharp object can be enough to damage it. Having said that there are better ones on the market that are much harder wearing.


Flotation Vest

A flotation vest is primarily designed to be a flotation aid rather than a life-saving device.


  • It contains a lot of pockets for storage. Some models come with lots of pockets to store whatever you need when fishing. It can hold all your gear, as well as some food and drink.
  • You don’t need to worry about it going off. It can be used on kayaks or where you are likely to get it wet.


  • It is not a true floatation device. Should you fall in deep water, it won’t right you if you fall in face down. However, it can keep you afloat.


Flotation Suit

A flotation suit can come as a one or two piece suit with buoyancy built into it. It not only keeps you warm, but it can also save your life.


  • It is a good choice for shore fishing from a rock mark or steep beach. A lot of shore marks can be very dangerous because sudden large swells can appear out of nowhere. When this happens, it can sweep rock marks and steep beaches and drag you into the water.
  • Great on the boat, summer or winter. Even in the summer it can get a bit cold out at sea in a boat. A flotation suit gives you the protection and keeps you warm.
  • It keeps you afloat if you fall in the water. A flotation suit will keep you afloat and visible in the water.
  • It keeps you warm in freezing conditions. This type of suit keeps you warm even in freezing conditions. Even if the cold can take your breath away once you hit the water, you will warm up soon enough. Although your feet and hands may be numb, your vital organs will be protected.


  • It might be too bulky. A flotation suit comes in one or two pieces. However, with a one piece suit, it can be a little bulky to wear which might make you uncomfortable. It can also be a bit hot to wear especially when you still have a long hike to get to your mark.


As you can see, picking the best suit that fits the type of fishing activity is crucial. This helps in ensuring you are comfortable and safe in whatever you do. There are a number of good devices out there and more can be found on my daily Amazon Link 

As I mentioned earlier we will be reviewing a number of different items over the next few weeks. If you already have a flotation device and would like to share your thoughts then I would love to feature your review, just drop me an email to sean@fishingtails.co.uk




Related Posts