We recommend an annual inspection of the life jacket at the beginning of every season. During this inspection, visually check to make sure there are no holes or obvious tears in the fabric or seams. Physically check the hardware to make sure the zippers, buckles, and webbing are in good condition and function as intended. Test swim your life jacket in calm, protected water to test the buoyant force. During this inspection, if you discover any damage or your jacket seems to float less than you remember, it may be time for a new one. The reasonable lifespan of our PFDs is 5 years or 300 uses, whichever comes first. At this point, the buoyancy will start to degrade and not be as effective as you would have grown used to.