The United States Coast Guard has been receiving an uptick in requests on how to decontaminate a personal flotation device. Amid the covid-19 pandemic, cleaning a PFD has to go beyond what typically works — a hand wash with warm, soapy water and left to dry in a well-ventilated place.
The USCG has teamed with the Life Jacket Association on a guide on how to properly clean PFDs. Since the virus can exist for about 3 days on hard surfaces and even longer on porous ones, synthetic fabrics, plastic and metal may harbor the virus longer.
Hardware, such as buckles, zippers and other types of fasteners pose a challenge to clean. It is recommended that one use a spray bottle with 60 to 90 percent alcohol to fully disinfect these areas. The rest of the PFD can be washed thoroughly with very hot water, soap and of course, gloved hands and hung to dry.
Naturally, they also advise against sharing your PFD at this time.
The Life Jacket Association recently canceled their annual conference which was slated to take place May 4-6.