Frequently Asked Questions

What is an inflatable life vest and why would I want to use it?
  • Inflatable life vests – or PFDs – are comfortable for continuous wear and is one of the least bulky of all design options for a life vest. It’s important to note that it only provides flotation when inflated and this needs to be done manually by the person wearing the belt.
  • PFDs stay out of your way for leisurely activity and adventure, and are perfect for hot summer days.
  • PFDs do need proper re-arming once they’ve been inflated – so make sure to check your inflatables before going back out on the water.
  • Available in adult sizes only – not recommended for nonswimmers
What is the difference between Type V and Type III belts?
  • Type III belts provide more buoyancy – 22.5 lbs – and can be used for activities like inshore and nearshore boating
  • Type V belts are more lightweight and provide less buoyancy – between 15.5 – 22 lbs – and are recommended for leisurely water sports like paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, etc.
Where can I use flotation belts?

You can use Bombora belts on a variety of different water adventures – if you are embarking on an intense water trip – e.g. white-water rafting, or boating where you are expecting rough conditions – use a heavier-duty flotation device.

How does the inflatable life vest work?
  • Step 1: Bring the belt around your waist so the pack faces front then connect the buckle to secure the belt and pull the strap to tighten.
  • Step 2: Once in the water, pull on the tab to inflate the inflatable life vest. Our 16-gram option inflates into a flotation bag and our 24-gram option inflates into a full life jacket for added security.
  • Step 3: Using our inflatable life vests is easy! Bring the belt around your waist so the pack faces front then connect the buckle to secure the belt and pull the strap to tighten.
Do the PFDs come with a CO2 arming kit or do I need to buy that separately?

(1) CO2 cartridge is included with the belt pack, but many customers choose to purchase an extra rearming kit to ensure they’re always prepared for their next adventure.

When should I re-arm the CO2 cartridge in a Bombora belt?

After your PFD has inflated, you’ll need to re-arm it before the next use.

How do I re-arm the CO2 cartridge in my Bombora belt?
  1. Unscrew used CO2 cylinder in a counterclockwise direction and immediately discard. Do not insert new cylinder at this time.
  2. Close manual red lever within inflator body and carefully insert a new green indicator clip so that it fully covers the red lever.
  3. Look into the threaded cylinder receiver and view the gasket. Replace if worn.
  4. Inspect the face of the new cylinder. BE sure it is smooth and has no holes or scratches.
  5. Install new cylinder by engaging the cylinder treads with the cylinder receiver threads. Turn the cylinder clockwise until a firm seal is achieved.
  6. Check to be sure the service indicator is green every boating trip.
How do I clean and store my PFD?

To keep your PFD’s clean, gently hand wash or sponge it using warm, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and hang it to air dry on a plastic coat hanger. Avoid dry cleaning, chlorine bleach, or exposing it to direct heat. Once completely dry, store your PFD in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight to keep it in top condition.

Can I inflate my PFD with my own breath, or do I have to use the PFD cartridge?

Yes – all Inflatable PFDs come with an oral tube which a user can use to orally inflate the device.

What should I check for before going out on the water with my PFD?
  • Have I checked the status of the inflator and made sure that the CO2 cylinder is not punctured? Check both before each outing.
  • Have I checked my inflatable PFD for leaks in the last two months?
  • Do I have the right PFD for this activity?
  • How does my PFD work in the water?
  • Have I tested it this
What if you're knocked unconscious?

Bombora inflatable PFD’s are approved and certified by the US Coast Guard as Type 3 or Type 5, they’re lightweight and less bulky, but they need inflation for flotation. For information on the different types of PFD’s and guidance on choosing the right PFD, visit the USCG website.