Exclusive test: 10 of the best lifejackets tested to the max

We tested 10 of the best lifejackets on the market in a full-open water test to see how quickly they fire and how comfortable they are to wear



  • Crotch-strap: No (but available for £8.99)
  • Light: No (but available for £14.99)
  • Sprayhood: No
  • Harness: No (but available for £59.99 and includes crotch-strap)
  • Firing mechanism: United Moulders UML-5
  • Fastening mechanism: Plastic buckle
  • Price: £55
  • Rating: 2/5


We know that many motorboaters buy on price, so we decided to include this British-made budget jacket to provide a direct comparison to the more expensive products.

As the features list above reveals, it is light on specifications but most of the important bits can be added afterwards and you can choose a harness version if you wish.

So how did the Bluewave perform on the day? Adjustment was easy and the wearer reported very high levels of comfort on board due to the jacket being so light and compact.


Obviously, adding extra components will reduce this benefit to some extent. Nethertheless, this was the most comfortable jacket on the day.

In the water things weren’t quite so good. Inflation was fairly slow at eight seconds and a lack of crotch-straps on our test model meant the jacket rode up, leaving Greg’s head too close to the water and compressing on his neck.

The Bluewave was also light on reflective panels. This cost-effective jacket could be upgraded easily with a crotch-strap and a light to make it comparable to the other jackets here (sprayhood aside) and if you did this it would still be very affordable.


This budget jacket shares the same firing mechanism as most of the  more expensive models on our test, which means it is just as easy and cheap to rearm. Rearming kit: £16.99


With Velcro cover fastenings, this was the easiest and quickest of the separate cover and bladder jackets to repack.

Contact: Marine Warehouse Ltd
Tel: 01792 474300

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