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Buoyancy Aids 101

Water sports are a brilliant way to be active and enjoy the outdoors. You can take advantage of all the beautiful rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and even oceans all over the UK in so many different ways. From wading and swimming to surfing or boating, there are endless possibilities.

Buoyancy aids

Here at Dolygaer we have access to two reservoirs literally on our doorstep as well as a stream that runs right through our centre. We also are very close to many other rivers, gorges, as well as lakes and reservoirs. The Brecon Beacons are a beautiful place that is blessed with a great deal of rainfall, meaning there is plenty of water to be found!

We take advantage of this as much as we can and offer loads of activities. And while our we love to have fun get our guests to enjoy themselves as much as possible, our number one priority is always safety. On the water, this means a lot of things. But the most basic aspect of water safety is having appropriate equipment.

A very basic piece of equipment is a personal floatation device. You will often see this abbreviated as PFD, particularly in rescue agencies.  At Dolygaer, whenever you go kayaking or canoeing (or on any other activity in water), we make sure you are wearing a buoyancy aid as your PFD. Sometimes these are referred to as life jackets, but that’s not exactly correct. While a life jacket is literally a buoyancy aid, to be called a life jacket it must be able to turn a body over so it is face up, even if that body is unconcious. A buoyancy aid is simply a device that gives you some extra buoyancy.

Raft Building

Generally speaking, if you are expecting to be in the water a lot but there is someone close at hand to help you or rescue you if needed, you will be okay with a BA. Life jackets are usually provided in circumstances like planes or big boats, where there might be a need for them in case of an accident. BAs are used by all kinds of water professionals and are usually less restrictive than a life jacket. For example, rescue services that deal with floods or water rescues will always have a PFD on if they are within certain distance of water, but it is rarely a full life jacket. Also, kayakers and canoeists generally wear BAs, leaving them with plenty of mobility but the added buoyancy.

As I said, at Dolygaer we make sure you have all appropriate equipment before you take part in any of our activities, and our buoyancy aids are available in all sorts of sizes. We also test them every six months for buoyancy, and after every wear for general fitness. We take safety extremely seriously and taking care of our equipment is a big part of that.


Contact us today on: 01685 848 309

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Business Hours

Opening Days:

  • Monday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Tuesday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Wednesday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Thursday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Friday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday   09:00 - 17:00
  • Sunday   09:00 - 17:00

About Us

Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer is an activity centre based in the south of the Brecon Beacons, just a 15 minute drive from Merthyr Tydfil. We offer a fantastic range of activities suitable for all ages and abilities


Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer Pontsticill Merthyr Tydfil CF48 2UR