Premier Angler is a freshwater fishing resource and brand written, edited, curated, and crafted by fishing enthusiasts for fishing enthusiasts. We also participate in the Bass Pro Shops Affiliate program. Some links on this page may direct you to the Bass Pro Shops website. If you make a purchase through one of those links, we may receive a small commission.
Fishing is one of the world’s most popular pastimes. Each year, over one hundred million individuals around the world throw a lure, bait, and other attractant into the water with the sole purpose of pulling out a fish.
While fishing is generally considered a fairly low-impact sport, the reality is that fishing from a boat, kayak, or even the shoreline can come with certain inherent risks.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there were approximately 3,500 unintentional drowning deaths in the United States alone each year between 2004 and 2015. This equates to roughly ten drowning deaths per year.
The same study estimates that 332 of these deaths per year, on average, are from boating-related incidents. Nearly twenty percent of the total unintentional drowning deaths during this period were also suffered by youth ages fourteen and younger.
It is always hard to see stories on social media of anglers who have died after a boating-related incident. Sometimes, there are underlying circumstances or health issues that contribute to these tragedies. That said, having the proper personal flotation devices on your boat (and body, depending on the circumstances, can play a major role in saving a life.
Some Notes on Life Jackets and Personal Flotation Devices
As lifelong anglers, we understand that there is nothing fun, comfortable, sexy, or stylish about wearing a life jacket while you are out fishing. As children, we couldn’t wait to take ours off — if you grew up wearing those big, puffy orange life jackets, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Over the years, numerous companies have realized how unlikely folks were to use the bulky, uncomfortable, compromising life jackets of the 1980s and 90s, however. Today, models are much lighter and far less cumbersome.
If you are going to be out on the water, especially on fast boats, kayaks, canoes, or waters with high or no horsepower limits or heavy currents, please be safe and prepared.
Looking at Some of the Best Life Jackets for Fishing
The XPS Segmented Neoprene Life Jacket with its PE Foam and heavy duty belt system will ensure your safety while out on the water. There are segmented parts within the jacket along with mesh drainage to ensure that the user remains as comfortable as possible while wearing the device.
For those who enjoy a little variety and style while being safe and responsible, there are 4 different color variations to choose from in the XPS Segmented Neoprene Life Jacket.
Whether its just for you or the whole family, this particular device accommodates not only color patterns but multiple different sizes as well.
Overall, this is a popular and affordable mid-range life jacket that offers both comfort and variety while achieving its primary goal — keeping you and your loved ones safe while on the water.
The Mustang Survival ACCEL 100 is geared towards the avid angler and water enthusiast, and it has been tested and endorsed by multiple professional anglers.
This vest consistently carries one of the highest available speed ratings on the market. It is also designed with a large comfortability factor, having a fleeced collar, warming pockets for your hands in high speeds or cold mornings or nights, and a segmented foam with reduced ride up into the neck area. These features, among several others, all make the ACCEL 100 a go-to for the anglers who are riding against the wind.
If you enjoy your fishing in the fast lane, this might be the life jacket for you.
If bright, bold, beautiful, and vibrant colors are a must when purchasing your next life jacket, then you’re out of luck.
That said, if you dig simple, earthy colors with tons of practical accessories, then this might be the product you should pay attention to.
The BPS Tournament Fishing Life Jacket is great for anglers wanting to hit the streams and other steady-flowing bodies of water. This life jacket will offer you comfort, practicality, and peace of mind with its PE foam, two belt system with quick release straps, and full front zipper.
There are also multiple pockets on this vest to keep different tackle and tools which, in many cases, eliminates toting around cumbersome tackle boxes or bags.
The XPS Deluxe Fishing Life Vest is designed with comfort in mind. Its large arm holes and soft foam contours provide excellent maneuverability all while staying safe and having fun fishing.
This vest also comes with a fleece-lined collar and hand warmer pockets for colder mornings and nights out on the water.
There are two color variations (red or blue) and the sizes range from small all the way to 4XL.
All-in-all, the XPS Deluxe is a comfortable and versatile life vest at a medium price range. As the name suggests, it is also engineered with anglers in mind.
The Mustang M.I.T. 100 Auto Inflatable Life Vest is designed for extreme maneuverability since it does not contain any foam padding for flotation.
So, what does that mean?
Let’s look at this scenario: you slip and fall into the water or are thrown from your watercraft. The M.I.T. 100’s membrane-inflating technology vest will auto-inflate at 28lbs of buoyancy for you. In the event that the technology does not automatically take effect, there is also a secondary handle for manual inflating.
Given the advanced technology of this particular device, it does come with a higher price tag than over standard models. That said, the auto-inflation could be a potential life saver.
It also looks pretty cool, so that’s an added bonus.
The Ascend Deluxe is a solid all-around vest to have whether you are kayaking or hitting up streams, rivers, or lakes.
Its durable ripstop material ensures the durability and longevity of this product. There are vented shoulder and back pads plus two zip pockets in the front to store gear in while out on the water.
Also, it comes equipped with 3M reflective material on the front and back for extra visibility.
The Ascend Deluxe Life Jacket comes in only one color style– tan and gray — which is simple yet attractive.
The Mustang Survival Elite Inflatable Life Vest is designed for speed and high mobility while keeping the user’s safety in mind.
This vest comes equipped with Hydrostatic Inflator Technology that inflates under hydrostatic pressure. An ANSI inflation cell helps in water visibility.
As with the other Mustang products on this list, the Survival Elite Inflatable Life Vest carries a higher price tag than many other competitors on the market. That said, this vest is one of the more expensive models on the market.
There are two color variations for this vest — black and red/black.