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Lifejacket swim test

Promote public safety by participating in North Carolina swim tests to help UL evaluate lifejackets.

Swim Subject Information

UL will pay swim subjects, depending on age and size, per session for participating in its ongoing testing of personal flotation devices. Private testing takes place in an indoor, heated test tank (pool) at UL’s Research Triangle Park facility in North Carolina.

Testing is conducted Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 5:30 PM, though other test times may be arranged. Each testing session takes approximately 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of device tested and the number of devices to be tested during the scheduled session. Everyone is welcome, though UL has a special need for:

  • Adults of any weight with chest sizes of 52 inches or more. 
  • Adults weighing at least 90 pounds with chest sizes of 30 inches or less.
  • Adults of any weight with chest sizes of 30 inches or more.
  • Children weighing 30 to 90 pounds (a high need for subjects weighing 30 ± 1, 33 ± 1, 50 ± 1, 55 ± 1, and 89 ± 1 pound).
  • Children weighing 30 to 90 pounds with chest sizes of 29 inches or less. 
  • Infants weighing less than 30 pounds with any chest size. 

All test subjects must be able to perform the following skills:

  • Follow directions.
  • Put on a PFD (don) as quickly as possible.
  • Float in a relaxed manner on their back while wearing a PFD.
  • Put their face in the water while wearing a PFD.
  • Feel comfortable in and around water.*

Test subjects weighing more than 50 pounds must also be able to perform the following skills while wearing a personal flotation device:

  • Jump feet first into the water from a height of 3 feet without holding their nose.
  • Put their face in the water and hold their breath for at least 10 seconds.
  • Float in a relaxed manner on their stomach.
  • Perform in-water jumping jacks (head goes under water).
  • Self-right (roll over) from a face-down position to a face-up position.

Test subjects weighing less than 30 pounds must be able to commit to the following:

  • Lift up and support their head and neck.
  • Have parental/adult assistance with swim testing.
  • This will require the parent/adult to enter the pool.
  • The infant must complete 6 turn tests which consist of placing the child face-down in the water while the device turns them to a face-up position.
  • Float in a relaxed manner on their back while wearing a PFD.

*Please note that while subjects are not required to know how to swim, we do require participants to be comfortable in the water. Some personal flotation devices do require a more advanced swim competency.

To become a paid test subject, complete the Swim Test Application or contact [email protected] with any questions. For anyone under 18 years of age, a parent/guardian contact with contact information must be provided.

Lifejacket swim test