I am often asked what the difference is between a CGA (Coast Guard Approved) Life Vest and a Competition Vest. People often think a Comp Vest is simply a sleeker Life Vest made for water sports. While this is partially true, it does not encapsulate the whole story.
CGA Vests - as it says in the name - are approved by the United States Coast Guard to provide flotation and protection in the event of an injury. While Comp Vests provide some flotation they are not meant for this at all. Allowing for full range of motion with flexibility for tricks, Comp Vests are usually 2-3 times lighter than CGA vests because they are specifically designed for professional water sports athletes, who often compete in closely monitored courses.
Comp Vests should never be worn for recreational water sports like tubing, kayaking or paddle boarding. They should never be worn by less experienced swimmers or children as this is a major safety hazard. When wearing a Comp Vest you assume all risk of injury or death. In almost all cases, I recommend CGA Vests for our customers. They are always the safest option and the technology has progressed so much that you can purchase a very comfortable CGA vest for a good price.
For the average use, I personally recommend the Jet Pilot Fleet Neoprene CGA Vest. It is sleek, comfortable and comes in 3 awesome colors. For children, we have a large selection of CGA vests ranging in size from infant to youth.