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We are lucky enough to live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes otherwise known as… Minnesota. We are also lucky enough to live just 5 minutes from Grandma & Grandpa’s house where there’s a nice, refreshing pool to swim in during the summer months.
This means that Bean is around water ALL THE TIME in the summer. She hasn’t had official swimming lessons yet, but she sure can swim like a fish.
Because we are around water all the time, water safety is foremost on my mind. The first thing we do when we’re by water: strap on a life jacket. I love our Stearns® Puddle Jumper® 3D Life Jacket because it gives Bean a little more freedom to swim and play than a traditional life jacket. It has an adjustable buckle that snaps in the back and Bean loves the 3D Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle head on the front 🙂 Plus, it’s got antimicrobial properties that keep it from getting stinky as it gets wet.
But I digress… because we’re around water a lot, and own a boat, we have a LOT of life jackets. When they’re not in our boat, they’re haphazardly thrown on a shelf in the boat house. That is, until now! I made a life jacket organization and drying rack out of PVC pipe and it has been a life saver. Here’s how you can make your own as well (it’s super easy and cheap!)
Life Jacket Organization & Drying Rack
- 5- 3/4″ end caps
- 5- 3/4″ t- joints
- 2-3 lengths 5′ by 3/4″ plastic PVC (I bought 3 in case I somehow messed some up)
- 1- 3/4″ threaded steel flange
- 1- 3/4″ Male transition part (one end is threaded, the other is smooth)
- 4- 1 1/2″ long screws
- 12″ x 36″ x 2″ Wood board
- Power Drill
- Measuring Tape/Pencil
Sand the edges of your board. If, like me, you want to make your life jacket rack “cute”, you can give the board a few coats of spray paint.
Find the center of the board using a measuring tape. Place the metal flange directly in the center and secure with the screws. I found that pre-drilling the holes helped the screws go in easier. Screw in the male adaptor to the metal flange.
Using the hacksaw (or power saw if you’re lucky enough to have one), cut the following lengths out of the long 5′ by 3/4″ PVC pipe:
- 5- 4″ pieces
- 1- 20″ piece
- 5- 16″ pieces
Attach the 20″ length piece to the male adapter. Make sure you press down with lots of pressure to make sure it’s fully in.
Attach a t-joint to the top and then a 16″ length piece to the end of the t-joint. Use a cap to close the open end.
Attach a 4″ length piece to the top of the t-joint, and then repeat STEP FIVE. Continue to do this until you have used all 5 t-joints. After your 5th t-joint, you’re done!
Because we didn’t use any glue, you will be able to twist and move the ends of the rack around to suit your needs.
Summer is HERE and if you’ve got a young one (30-50 pounds) at home, I can’t recommend Puddle Jumper® life jackets enough. We stayed at a water park resort a few summers ago when Bean was 3 and they required a life jacket at all times. She lived in her Puddle Jumper® life jacket our whole stay and never complained, it was that comfortable for her (it’s made of woven polyester so it’s softer and doesn’t chafe like other life jackets).
Needless to say, we’ve been longtime fans in our house. The next time you’re at Target (c’mon, you know you’ll be making at least one trip this week right?) pick up a Stearns® Puddle Jumper® 3D Life Jacket! Of course my daughter would pick out the least girly one… 😉
Have you heard of/used Puddle Jumper® life jacket before? What character would your kiddo chose for their Puddle Jumper® life jacket? Let me know in the comments below!