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Life Jacket Trade-In

Wear It California!

California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) partners with many organizations throughout the state for life jacket trade-in events each year. Life jacket trade-ins provide recreational boaters the opportunity to have life jackets inspected by safety professionals. If a life jacket is found to be unserviceable or the wearer has outgrown the life jacket, a new, properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket will be given in exchange. One life jacket per person, while supplies last.

Life jacket trade-in partners include aquatic centers, Drowning Accident Rescue Team, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, and local law enforcement agencies.

When choosing the right life jacket, water enthusiasts should ensure the following:

  • The life jacket is Coast Guard-approved. All life jackets approved for use by the Coast Guard will have an approval number on the inside label. Only Coast Guard-approved life jackets should be used when boating. Boaters could be cited if they do not have the proper equipment on board their vessel.
  • The life jacket is the proper size. Life jacket sizes are categorized by weight. Life jackets should fit snug and should never be purchased to “grow into.” A life jacket that is too small may not provide enough flotation to keep you afloat. A life jacket that is too large can slip off upon entry into the water or could ride up around the face and prevent normal breathing.
  • The life jacket is approved for the intended boating activity. Check the inside label of the life jacket to make sure it is approved for the boating activity you are participating in.
  • The life jacket is in good condition. Life jackets with rips, tears, mildew, loose or missing straps, frayed webbing, broken zippers or buckles, hardened stuffing or faded label instructions must be replaced.

Check this page for life jacket trade-in event dates throughout the boating season. For more information on life jacket trade-in events, contact the Education and Outreach Program Specialist, Melissa Miranda, at Melissa.Miranda@parks.ca.gov or (916) 327-1832.