Originally Posted by Nos4r2
Point is, an emergency won't follow the rules you think you're setting for it.
I think this is very true. More often than not swimming for shore may be the worst choice anyway. Donít underestimate how hard it is to swim in any PFD / Lifejacket anyway.
First decision is bouyancy aid (increasingly called a PFD - personal flotation device) which will keep you afloat but not turn you over if unconscious, offers some thermal insulation and wonít be accidentally triggered if you get it wet OR a lifejacket (usually inflatable) which is theoretically safer in that it will turn someone over in relatively calm water in light clothing (higher bouyancy options exist but at considerable expense). If you go lifejacket then go automatic (self inflating) unless you expect to swim in it intentionally.
Considering Nosí point above and the need will be unexpected consider if you need to have your means of calling for help in a pocket or attached to the Jacket. (All proper LJs will come with a whistle attached, whilst you donít think you need one if you take nothing else a £1 whistle would be a wise choice).