Press & Awards

General Articles about Salus

“Choosing the right PFD”
Boating Ontario Magazine
Summer/Fall 2008

The PFDs stuffed in the storage cubby in the console on your boat are not doing anyone any good. It is only worthwhile having them on board if you’re wearing them on board.

Come on, we all know the drill. More often than not, powerboaters offer up the excuse that PFDs are bulky, uncomfortable and, well, just plain ugly. But that just doesn’t jive anymore. Manufacturers have developed a variety of styles, fits and finishes that will match every on-the-water use. You just need to know how to choose one that’s right for you.


Consider if your PFD is for use on the water or in the water.

If you are looking for something to add to your safety gear or are involved in watersports that don’t involve several dips in the drink, then you have plenty of options. Paddlers would want a PFD that allows for lots of arm movement without chaffing. A looser fit also means more airflow to help keep you cool, but could mean you encounter some ride-up once in the water.

On the other hand, if you are engaging in activities where you are likely to land in the water (such as white water kayaking or wakeboarding) you will need a vest that can be adjusted for a secure fit. This will help to prevent the vest from riding up once you are submerged. To get a secure fit, you can also opt for leg harnesses or straps up high under the arms, but they can be uncomfortable, and just don’t look stylish.


Finding the right fit does not need to be a chore, but you should work more than colour, size and price into the equation. A good local outfitter will be able to help you with the features and benefits of various vests  to help equip you with one that feels like it was made just for you.

Don’t be afraid to make a bit of a spectable of yourself in the store. You should stand, sit and mock the motions of the activities you will be partaking in the make sure the fit is comfortable in all scenarios.

It’s a good idea to also try on a PFD with some clothes on underneath , so you can choose one that can also be used from spring through fall and on nights when it gets cool.


Buying a good PFD for you, your family and your pets extends beyond getting one that fits and floats – for the bargain basement price. One size fits all does not work in the world of PFDs. When choosing the best PFD, do your research and take the time to find the one that is right for you. After all, if the PFDs you choose are comfortable and practical, everyone on-board is more likely wear them.

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“Countering the threat of Asian imports”
IBI Magazine
April/May 2006



“Salus Marine and Mustang have embraced quality as the way forward in a lifejacket market dominated by commodity thinking.”

In the face of an ever-increasing tide of cheap Asian imports, two PFD makers have managed to create business models that allow their products to be manufactured in Canada, and exported around the world. The companies are about as different as they could be, but both have embraced quality as the way forward in a lifejacket market dominated by commodity thinking…

Read full article (PDF)

“Marine Manufacturers’ Award”
Boats & Places Magazine
Spring 2004

When Steve Wagner of Kitchener, Ont., decided to build better flotation devices (PFD) a few years ago, he opted for asymmetrical designs with high hip clearance, rounded seams and no flotation on the shoulders. As a result, the vests are comfortable and allow a full range of motion…

Read full article (PDF)

“Choosing the Right PFD”


September 2013

PFD and lifejacket designs have become increasingly complex and specialized. The study of body movement and advanced material technology, combined with increased consumer demand for quality and choice, have inspired manufacturers to design and develop more choices than ever before.

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Discovering Nunavik

On a recent trip to Nunavik, I had the opportunity to meet some warm and wonderful people from the villages of Kuujjuaq and Kangiqsualujjuaq. The Inuit, their culture and the rugged and beautiful mountain landscapes, created a lasting impression.

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“Designing a Successful Future in Canadian Marine Manufacturing”

Boating Industry Canada

December 2012

Sitting in a comfortable leather chair in the new boardroom at Salus Marine Wear in Waterloo, ON, surrounded by displays of colourful and beautifully-made lifejackets and PFDs, you might pause to wonder how Steve Wagner originally got his company started.

Did he foresee the market for high-end technical sporting goods in the marine industry? Or was it his dream to establish a new Canadian manufacturing company? What drove him forward in his quest?

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Boating Business

July/August 2009

…”We have recently partnered with the Canadian Power Squadron as well as with the Canadian Kayaking and Paddling Association – so it’s a grass roots effort and that’s doing well for us right now.”

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“Small Company With A Big Difference”

Ontario Sailor Magazine

Jan./Feb. 2003

Salus Marine Wear is a small manufacturing company with a BIG difference.

“We make PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) that deserve to be work,” says president Steve Wagner. All of the Salus projects – from our entry level children’s vest to high performance sail and kayak vests are consumer driven with comfort, style, fit and utility at the forefront of every design.

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“Marine Manufacturers Award”

Boats & Places

Spring 2004

This award goes to an individual or a company that has made a technological development improving boating safety or benefiting the environment.

It’s tough – creating a product, going through the long process of research and development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution. Once again, it takes dedication.

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“Blending Fashion with Safety”

The Record

July 6, 2002

…”You need something that people want to wear,” said Wagner, 38, who has been sailing ever since he was a little boy, growing up in Kingston.

“If people don’t like their (life-jacket), they’ll toss it in the bow of their boat.”

Read full article (PDF)

Product Articles

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“Salus and CYA Announce Agreement”

Canadian Yachting

Regatta Issue 2001

The CYA is pleased to announce the launch of a four-year agreement with Salus Marine which will see Salus provide PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) to Canadian Sailing Team athletes and CYA High Performance Coaches.

The design of the ABACUS Sail Vest by Salus Marine is the result of 16 months of research, surveys, focus groups and testing among sailors. Salus President, Steve Wagner, states that his company is proud to have designed a piece of equipment that meets the qualifications of Canada’s best sailors. “The Canadian high performance sailors were very clear as to what they wanted in a PFD. All we had to do was listen.”

The ABACUS Sail Vest provided to CST athletes and CYA High Performance Coaches will be red in colour and clearly identified with the CYA logo and other distinctive embroidery. A similar vest without the CYA identification is available from retailers.

According to CYA Executive Director Marianne Davis: “Our agreement with Salus Marine will provide our athletes and coaches with a vital piece of safety equipment that will enhance their ability to perform.”

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“Slowly, but surely…”
Canadian Yachting Magazine
April 2003

Slowly, but surely, Salus Marine is making waves and its presence known everywhere. Rumors report that Canadian sailing team members are getting huge payoffs for their jackets on trade when they travel abroad. Salus is a sponsor of the Canadian Yachting Association’s high performance coaches and the national team.

The jacket we looked at blends the ease of movement for the arms in a unique one-piece design. What we loved, too, was the side zipper that allowed easy on and off when a quick change to a smock or splash top was needed.

A tight fit does nothing to constrict any movement in any direction, it’s design speaks to its designer’s DNA, obviously a sailor who has smartly incorporated a unique “ergonomically” designed larger pocket with an easy to open zipper positioned diagonally on the side. Kudos Salus!

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“Salus makes PFDs for sailors”
Ontario Sailor Magazine
June/July 2003

Canadian lifejacket manufacturer Salus Marine Wear Inc. of Kitchener, which supplies the Canadian sailing team, has been granted a U.S. patent for their unique and comfortable round-edge design and has an application pending in Canada.

The company has eliminated “hard square edges” found on traditional PFDs (personal flotation devices) and its design of soft edges under the arms and in other spots on the jackets allows for better movement by boaters, the company reported.

“We are proud to outfit the Canadian Sailing Team with the Abacus sailing vest.” said company president Steve Wagner. “For many sailors, the PFD is one of their most important pieces of equipment, a part of their every move during the entire competition.”

The Abacus model offered by Salus Marine Wear is “designed by sailors for sailors” and will be modified for the national sailing team with custom colours and embroidery.

“We are happy to provide our sailors with a team jacket, and we’re pleased that it will be supplied by a Canadian manufacturer,” said Erika Vines, co-ordinator of the racing and sail team for the Canadian Yachting Association.

Salus Marine Wear makes 11 styles of PFDs, everything from entry-level children’s vests to high-performance sail and kayak lifejackets.

“The best compliment we get is when people tell us they didn’t notice they had one of our jackets or vests on,” said Wagner. “This tells us we’ve done our homework.”

Salus Marine Wear Inc. is located at 145 Bedford Road, 2nd Floor, Kitchener, Ontario. N2G 3A3. They can be reached by phone at 1-877-418-9998 or (519) 579-3131 or by email at

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“Pat Lymburner – Director CYA”
Canadian Yachting Magazine
November 2003

“Over the years, I have learned to take my own PFD when I hop on other people’s boats. It fits, it’s comfortable and I trust it!”

A great gift for someone you love is a life jacket that they will wear. New designs, technology and fabrics have replaced those old klunky ones that made you feel like the Pillsbury dough boy.

Some names to look for are Salus (pictured), Gul and Nautilus by Protexion.

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“Convenient Foil Bag”

Ontario Sailor Magazine

May 2008

Salus has introduced its latest innovation that offers a lot of convenience. The Salus Foil Bag provides protection to help keep foils in top condition for the best performance on the racecourse. The foil bag has padded sides and the ability to fit the rudder, dageer board, tiller and other rigging accessories.

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“Salus Throw Bag”
Rapid Magazine
Summer/Fall 2009

Best known for its Canadian-made PFDs, Salus’ new throw bag is a first for the Kitchener, Ontario-based company. Svelte for an 80-foot bag, it features a wide, wire-rimmed collar that stays open when you’re stuffing and allows the rope to travel farther when you’re throwing. “Small differences like the conical shape, stiff flotation shell and extra throwing leverage provided by the stuffing collar make it an 80-foot bag that you can actually toss 80 feet,” says Salus owner Steve Wagner. And we did. Click HERE to read full article.

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“Salus Marine Wear Amyot”
Adventure Kayak Magazine
Fall 2005

You couldn’t blame Francis Amyot for feeling like he was shortchanged after winning a gold medal in the 1,000-metre sprint at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Despite being the only Canadian to bring home gold, he had to pay his own way to the Olympics. Amyot was clearly a guy who needed performance-oriented equipment on a budget.

It was no coincidence that Salus Marine Wear should pay late tribute to him with their new Amyot PFD. The “high-back vest” keeps the bulk of the flotation high between the shoulders above obtrusive back bands and results in a better floating angle. Amyot would also no doubt approve of the shoulder and side adjustment straps to help the contoured flotation panels hug his torso and the generously sized pocket for his watch.

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“Adrenaline sport with girl appeal”
Grand Magazine
May/June 2007


Looking for a thrill, great exercise or simply the opportunity to be outdoors on one of the many waterways in and around Waterloo Region, more women have started paddling their way to adventure and better health.

Stephanie Park was just nine when she returned from summer camp and told her parents she needed a kayak.

“I was hooked,” she remembers.

They, in turn, told her she could earn one with money from her paper route.

Although that didn’t happen, her natural ability and passion for the sport had her in swimming pools, teaching rolling clinics, by the time she was 14…


“New Life Jackets with Comfort And Style”

Ontario Sailor Magazine

August/September 2001

Now boaters can be safe on the water and in style with a new line of life jackets and personal floatation devices offered by Salus Marine Wear of Kitchener, Ont.

The company, which is a supplier to the Canadian Sailing Team, offers a complete line of stylish jackets, which come in a range of colors, including teal, forest, bright red and gold. They are available at leading chandleries and boat supply stores.

Two of the popular lines for sailors are the Abacus Sailing Vests which fit comfortably and allow for lots of arm movement, and the Antigua OffShore Pullover, a cross between a foul-weather jacket and a PFD, which can extend the boating season into the late fall.

Other lines include the Darwin Kayak Vests and the Comfort Fit Sports Vests, with a mesh design and soft foam that is ideal for action sports like tubing and wakeboarding. All of the vests and PFDs are CCG approved.

The Abacus Sailing Vest comes with a large pocket with zipper at the front and a comfortable fit to allow for the maximum movement of the arms to manage the boat while sailing.

A high cut accomodates a trapeze harness for dinghy sailors, and eight neoprene-backed buckles and harness system to tailor the fit to anyone. There is also tapered foam on the front panel for quick access back into the boat from the water.

The Antigua OffShore Pullover is an unique mix of windbreaker, rain coat and PFD. It’s stylish and offers many neat extras, like an easy-access pocket on the front panel, foam that is contoured to the body, and a comfortable, loose fit.

When the weather gets nasty, there’s the elastic cuffs with velcro closures and a hood with an elastic draw cord. A fleece-lined collar is a bonus in comfort and protection, along with an elasticized bottom hem with adjustment on both sides. When the hands are cold, you can warm them in a fleece-lined compartment in the front panel.

Thin sections of Ensolite soft floatation foam is in the front and back panels, and you don’t have to look like a “marshmallow man” when wearing this pullover PFD. The arms and shoulders are free of foam to allow for easy movement. Check with your local marine supply store.

Read full article (PDF)

Awards & Testimonials

Transport Canada Letter


Current Transport Canada Regulations require all persons onboard a vessel to have a Canadian Approved PFD or Life Jacket, appropriate to their size and in good working order. “Canadian Approved” means that the PFD or Life Jacket meets standards set by Transport Canada and evaluated by Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC)…

Read full article (PDF)

“Updated for 2014”

Paddling Buyers Guide

2014 Annual

With added contouring back foam, tapered shoulders, Drylex lining, pull-forward adjustments, and an easy grab zipper tab, the Eddy Flex is a welcomed companion to any on-water adventure.

Read full article (PDF)

Comfort Fit & Nimbus Vests

Monica Sicotte & Kim Menzel
City of St. Albert Aquatic Program

Abacus Vest

Peter Steel
Canadian Sailing Team

Abacus Vest

Tim Bishop
Frenchman’s Bay Yacht Club


“Rippers Gear Test: The World’s Best Infant Lifejacket – Salus Bijoux”

Outside Magazine Blog

August 2011


By Raising Rippers

If you tell people that you’ve taken teensy, just-born babies out on the water—be it in a raft, a sailboat, or a 15-horsepower runabout—invariably, the first question you’ll get is, “They make lifejackets that small?” Yes, in fact, they do.

But not all infant PFDs are created equal. When our older daughter, Pippa, was a month old and traveled to Stony Lake for the first time, my mother rustled up some ancient lifejacket from the depths of the boathouse that looked like it’d been around since my infancy a billion years ago. It had surely been an adequate piece of flotation apparatus in its day, but its day was most definitely past. The chest and back flotation panels had faded from rescue-me! orange to rust-colored sepia, and the buckle on the crotch strap had to be re-threaded. We used it for a few weeks, and even cinched down to its tightest, most compact size, it still swallowed the baby. She was all PFD, no Pippa (exhibit A)…Click HERE for full article.

“Splish Splash”

Savvy Mom

July 2006

We all love the water, but we don’t love the fear we sometimes have when our children are near water.

Drowning is the second most common cause of injury-related death for kids in Canada and of course peaks in the summer. A little good news though? We’ve hunted down some innovative new solutions to help you navigate the rough waters of water safety with your family this summer.

When we received two reader submissions on the same day raving about the virtues of the Bijoux Baby Vest from Salus Marine, Canada’s top personal flotation device manufacturer, we knew it was worth testing out…


Read full article (PDF)

“Some excellent children’s vests…”
Pacific Yachting Magazine
March 2006

Some excellent children’s vests are available that have a wide neck collar to support a child’s head and keep it above the surface. The grab strap on the back can be used to lift the child out of the water.

Read full article (PDF)

“Salus Bijoux Baby Vest”
Kanawa Magazine
Spring 2006

Salus Marine Wear, a young Canadian Manufacturer of personal flotation devices (PFDs), is not afraid to explore new areas. The Bijoux baby Vest marks their latest foray into uncharted territory. The Bijoux, which means small precious jewel in French, was inspired when Salus’ designer shortened one of the Salus children’s PFDs for his new daughter and experienced the very different needs infants have of their PFDs. Although not approved – a standard does not yet exist – that did not stop the Canadian Safe Boating Council from awarding the Bijoux its Marine Industry Award as best new safety product.

Designed for infants weighing nine to 25 lbs, the Bijoux is not like the PFDs you and I wear: A mesh cradle, which is quickly secured with two side release buckles, allows easy entry and is cool in hot weather. With all of the torso foam in the front, Junior is righted immediately if he happens to land face first in the water.  (Adult PFDs have the foam more evenly split between the front and back.) The front foam is also short so baby is comfortable whether floating in water, sitting up, lying down or in a car seat. The three-piece collar cradles the infant’s head in water or while being lifted by the collar strap, but stays out of the way when the child is sitting up. The vest even comes with a couple of stretchy pockets for soothers and other baby stuff.

The Salus Bijoux is literally the best and only choice of small infants. As good as it is though, remember to always stay within arm’s length of the child.

Read full article (PDF)

“PFDs: what you still need to know”
Pacific Yachting Magazine
June 2006

Regarding “Personal Flotation Devices; Everything You Need to Know” (March 2006), any boaters travelling with children up to age three would be well advised to listen and heed this warning. Last summer I observed two young families with their motor yachts tied to a yacht club dock in Silva Bay. While the parents enjoyed happy hour and lively conversation on the stern of one of the boats, two small children with minnow nets in their hands hung over the bulwarks hoping to catch some supper. One of the children was not much over one year old judging  by the wide stance of her legs and wobbly gait as she toddled down the dock after her older sister. The older child looked to be about four years old. Together they walked up and down the fingers of the docks hanging over the side whenever they saw something noteworthy in the water. I had to fight the urge to go over to the parents in their deck chairs and educate them to the perils of believing that if your children have PFDs on, they are safe.

Many years ago I was a lifeguard at one of the public pools in the Fraser Valley. One of my responsibilities was teaching a “WaterBabies” swimming class. This class was for mothers  with babies from six months to three years old. As part of all Red Cross Life Saving classes the use of PFDs is taught in every age level from infant to adult.

One of the lessons that many of my students’ parent’s found most remarkable was an explanation of how and when PFDs work and don’t work for young children. The article in PT is worthy of further comment about lifejackets’ design and how they affect small children.

The “wide-neck collar to support and keep a child’s head out of the water” only works if children are in the water on their back. However, if they were to fall into the water face first this very buoyancy at the back of the neck is what could drown them! The flotation is more powerful than a child’s ability to lift her face out of the water – if not properly trained, children are unable to flip themselves over and rest comfortably and safely on their backs. Small babies also lack the strength in their neck to keep their face out of the water for long periods of time.

Younger children typically are more top-heavy than older children, their heads being the biggest part of them. If their feet come out from under them, even in water that may only be at their waist, it’s very difficult to get their feet  back underneath themselves, get their face out of the water, and stand up again. The flotation in most PFDs works beautifully when the child is lying on her back, but fails miserably if the child is not able to wriggle around from the face-first position against the buoyancy of the vest.

As a lifeguard and instructor, I demonstrated this to a group of mothers and babies in the shallow end of the pool as part of the WaterBabies swimming lesson. One of the children in the class was 18 months old, and had been swimming since the age of six months. She could go underwater and swim happily from the mother to another adult close by, returning to the surface with a big grin on her face. Routinely, she happily slid down the kiddies slide, plunked in the water, paddle to the edge and climb out ready for another go. This kid was very comfortable in the water!

With her mother’s permission, I used her baby to demonstrate the effect of a PFD on a child that falls into the water face first. We suited her up to a PFD similar to the one pictured in the article last month. All the buckles were done up right, the through-the-legs strap fastened and the large neck collar support suited to her size and weight as the specification indicated.

This child had not had a PFD on before this demonstration so we placed her on her back to let her get used to the feel of it, all the while with her mother looking into her face and smiling her encouragement. The baby smiled back and kicked her feet and flapped her arms around playfully. I then asked the mother to turn her baby over onto her tummy and let her float freely in that position. As predicted, the child  had her face in the water and was not in a position to get her nose out of the water and breathe. She was able for short periods of time to lift her head, but the neck collar was working against her. This little girl did not struggle initially because she was comfortable with her face in the water. We soon flipped her over onto her back and all the mothers watching the demonstration were silent while clutching their cildren close to them. Without our assistance the child would most likely have drowned. We spent the rest of the lesson teaching the babies that were old enough and strong enough how to flip themselves over while wearing a PFD. As you can imagine, only the larger, older children were able to accomplish this with little assistance.

This information isn’t meant to frighten anyone. The intent is to educate people about a critical piece of information that could save their child’s life. Of course your child is much safer with a PFD on that not. What needs to be clearly understood is that although children may be wearing a PFD, they still need to be closely supervised – particularly if they are not comfortable in the water and are under three years old.

Further information about PFDs and young children is provided at any public swimming pool and/or through the Red Cross Life Saving Society.

Read full article (PDF)


“Fishermen extend season with great gear”
BC Fishing Adventures Magazine


The rugged landscape surrounds this region’s fabled waters, which hold some of British Columbia’s biggest fish!

Northern British Columbia lies above a jagged line drawn westward from Tete Jaune Cache (on the British Columbia-Alberta border). It goes through McBride, south of Prince George, and crosses west over North Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, Banks Island on the east side of Hecate Strait and eventually to the Queen Charlotte Islands. The region even encompasses the territory north of the British Columbia-Yukon border. Only when you see a map of the province do you realize this vast expanse covers a full 53 percent of BC’s total area…


“Salus Marine Wear wins award”
Ontario Sailor Magazine
April/May 2004

Salus Marine Wear, a Canadian-based manufacturer of personal flotation devices, has been awarded the Marine Manufactures Award for innovation in boating safety.

The Canadian Safe Boating Award (CASBA) is presented by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) once every year.

The Kitchener, Ont. company has pioneered a patented manufacturing process which eliminates the hard square edges found in traditional Personal Floating Device (PFD) construction, which makes their vests soft, pliable and comfortable for every movement.

From the children’s Nimbus to the Abacus sail vest, the gently rounded edge is only one of many details that make Salus unique, said the company in a release.

Company spokesman Steve Wagner said Salus vests are desnged with safety, style, fit, and performance in mind.

“The best compliment we get is when people tell us they didn’t notice they had one of our jackets or vest on,” said Wagner. “This tells us we’ve done our homework.”

Read full article (PDF)


“Salus Darwin PFD”
Rapid Magazine
Fall 2001

The new Darwin Kayak Vest from Salus Marine Wear is a super comfy traditionally cut paddling PFD. The foam panels are cut larger that the more techy freestyle vests and are shaped and contoured to allow generous freedom of movement. The liner material is comfortable mesh for hot dry days and the exterior is rugged Cordura. The shoulders are padded for long portages, there is a whistle loop, knife patch and large front pocket. The Darwin is ideal for river running and canoe tripping. Salus vests are made in Canada and are Canadian Coast Guard approved.

Contact Salus at 877-418-9998 for info.

“Salus Darwin Expedition PFD”

Kanawa – Canada’s Paddling Magazine

Fall 2002

Salus is a relatively new Canadian company that manufactures high quality PFDs. The Darwin Expedition is based on their popular Darwin vest, but with additonal features specifically for rescues.

Both the Darwin vest and the Darwin Expedition use super soft foam with bevelled edges to drape well on the body so you can wear them snug and still be comfortable. With their short cut, huge arm holes and plentiful adjustment points, you almost forget that you are wearing them. For one tester, the vests seemed to ride too high and touch the chin, but they fit well on everyone else.

A unique feature of all Salus PFDs is the use of Dry-Lex, a wicking material, on the inside of the vest. On those hot days when you’re paddling in the minimum amount of clothing allowed by law, it is great to know you won’t stick to the inside of your PFD the way the back of your legs stick to the vinyl seats in your shuttle vehicle.

The Darwin Expedition is a well-designed rescue PFD. The tow system is simple to use and the weight of the towed boat is spread across the whole chest. The QR Belt releases quickly and easily if the rescue goes sour, and the webbing on the back of the vest permits the attachment of a strobe and a hydration pack – a great idea!

Overall, the Darwin Expedition is an excellent rescue PFD!

Read full article (PDF)


“Updated for 2014”

Paddling Buyers Guide

2014 Annual

With added contouring back foam, tapered shoulders, Drylex lining, pull-forward adjustments, and an easy grab zipper tab, the Eddy Flex is a welcomed companion to any on-water adventure.

Read full article (PDF)


“Salus Marine Wear Gjoa PFD”
Rapid Magazine
Fall 2003

I don’t have breasts, not even flabby man  breasts, and definitely nothing you’d mistake for pectoral muscles. Anyone who’s met me is now nodding because they know I’m built more like a drinking straw than an hourglass. Most PFDs fit me, so I don’t know first hand what all the complaining is about, but put a bunch of women together in the same shuttle vehicle and sooner than later the conversation turns to “does your PFD squash up your boobs?” You may find yourself already penning a how-crude-of-me letter, but ask any woman paddler and you’ll realize this is a serious issue.

Steve Wagner, president and designer of Salus Marine Wear doesn’t have breasts either, but gruelling anatomical research produced the clever cut of the new Gjoa; a PFD that fits women like a Wonderbra. The Gjoa (pronounce YO-ha, the name of Roald Amundsen’s ship which was the first to navigate the Northwest Passage) is a full-bodied, side-zip/pullover, Canadian Coast Guard approved paddling vest. The contoured princess seams divide the front of the PFD into three hinged panels that wrap your torso, while the chest foam thins to reduce bulk, and accommodate and support. “We almost released the Gjoa as a woman-only PFD, but so many men found it comfortable we didn’t want to pigeonhole it,” said Wagner. Salus uses Nylon webbing throughout, Drylex mesh lining, and Cordura outer fabric, making the Gjoa strong enough for a man. But really, it’s made for a woman. Gold, red, and moss green.

Read full article (PDF)



Paddling Buyers Guide


The Salus Jazz is an evolution in Whitewater PFD design. The innovative rocker design contours to your torso as you bend and reach, allowing for comfortable and uninhibited range of motion.

Read full article (PDF)

“Salus Marine Wear Jazz”
Rapid Magazine
Fall 2008

Famed ’50’s jazz drummer Art Blakey said, “Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.” Salus’ new freestyle PFD will get your life imitating Art and on the water in comfort to paddle away the dust. With a sculpted low profile the Jazz is a performance vest with clean lines. It contours to the upper body so there is very little resistance or interference to your paddling. It also features full-spine protection with a tapered back in a pull-over design. The Jazz is available in small-medium to double extra-large.

Read full article (PDF)


“Salus Kiwi PFD”
Wavelength Magazine

With six points of adjustment and unisex styling, the Kiwi delivers fantastic fit to both men and women. Low-profile padding provides unrestricted movement which makes ride-up a thing of the past, while centralized vertical pockets allow complete range of motion even when fully stuffed. Special features: 3M reflective trim for greater visibility; advanced Dry-lex Aero-spacer lining for breathability; 500 denier Cordura for durability; Salus’ patented round-edge design for superior comfort.

Read full article (PDF)

“Salus Kiwi”
Wavelength Magazine
December 2004

The Salus Kiwi was a last minute addition to the test. Our PFD was a pre-production sample, but accurately reflects what will soon be available in stores. The vest is so new that Canadian Coast Guard approval was still pending (but should be completed soon). At 15 lbs. 8 oz. of flotation, it matches the Kokatat Orbit for buoyancy and so is at the lower end of the approved flotation standard. This vest if very low profile with nicely beveled foam and big armholes for an unimpeded range of motion and good comfort. The front zip design made getting the vest on and off easy. Two vertical front pockets with zip closures and mesh drainage flank the front zipper providing plenty of room for sunblock and energy bars. Adjustment is via a side strap, waist cinch and shoulder straps and provides a good snug fit. Reflective piping on the front and back of the unit help keep the wearer visible. Sizing on our sample seemed to run on the small side, so as always, be sure to “try before you buy”.

Canadian Coast Guard (DOT) approval pending.
*Not UL (US) approved
Buoyancy: 15 lbs. 8 oz.
Colours: mango and red
Sizing: S/M, M/L, L/XL, XL/XXL

“Marianne Paul”
Grand Magazine
May/June 2009


Marianne Paul is captivated by water, whether she’s writing or musing in a kayak.

It’s January and we’re at the writers’ retreat at Keswick on Lake Simcoe, and the bay is frozen over, the surface dotted with fisherman’s shacks.

It’s hard to believe that the summer before author Marianne Paul kayaked in the same lake. She was elated then, gliding through the water. Now, on this cold day, her eyes sparkle and her cheeks dimple as she talks about how being connected to water inspires her writing and how much she loves kayaking the Grand River.

Paul, 53, has lived in Kitchener since 1983, moving here with her husband, Bob, and their young daughter, Samantha.

I felt landlocked when I came to Kitchener,” Marianne recalls…


“Chicks and Babies Revisted”

Rapid Magazine


Great shot of the Salus Nimbus Child’s Vest!

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“Cool Kid’s Stuff”
Rapid Magazine
Summer 2001

The Salus Nimbus Children’s Vest is the primo of primo kid’s PFD. With an exclusive round edge design using Ensolite foam, the Nimbus is softer around the arms giving kids greater mobility and comfort. A drawstring bottom and elasticized back make for a proper fit. The leg harness is essential to keep the vest in proper position and eliminate ride-up. The Nimbus is available in sunny yellow or cool aqua green to meet the standards of the most fashion-conscious tykes (or parents). All Salus Marine Wear is designed and manufactured in Canada.

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“Tips on choosing your child’s PFD”
Adventure Kayak Magazine
December 2001

Choose the PFD that most accurately describes the weight of your child, remembering to include the weight of any paddling gear they may be wearing. A wet diaper can add an additional weight of up to 4 lbs. For big boned children with low body fat you may wish to have a bit more floatation. The CCG advises that infants under twenty pound should not be brought on the water. The disproportional head size and upper body weight of an infant causes too great a risk of inversion in the water which cannot be prevented by PFD design.

If you night paddle look for a sewn loop on the collar of the jacket to hold a light or glowstick. Many jackets have reflective piping and tape sewn on for improved low light visibility.

A whistle can be attached to a separate lash point rather than to the zipper preventing the zipper from lowering under the weight of the whistle. Ensure that your child understands that the whistle is not a toy. It is a signalling tool only to be used in an emergency.

[The following section appeared as callouts to the product image attending the article]

– The floatation collar required on all PFDs for children and youths under 90lbs will help keep a child’s head floating face up in the water
– Little people have little or no waist to help keep the jacket from riding up on their rib cage, children’s PFDs have a crotch strap to help keep the jacket down. Rear fastening crotch straps are not common but they are less likely to be accidentally opened and are more comfortable for the child
– A grab loop on the collar is a must for quick extraction from the water
– It is now possible to find colours and prints that children will enjoy wearing. Rember though, yellow, orange and red remain the most visible colours in the water and the easiest to spot as your child wanders down the beach
– Drawstring closures for waist and other adjustments are less likely to pinch an errant bit of skin from your child’s tender spots than plastic buckles

Salus Marine Wear’s Nimbus Children’s Vest is available in gold or teal in all three children’s sizes with Ensolite rounded edge foam design for comfort.


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“Marine Seen”
Boating Business Magazine
March/April 2002

Safety doesn’t cramp your style with Salus Marine Wear personal flotation devices. Ensolite soft foam, high-end labelling, and round-edge design produce wearable, comfortable PFDs. Six styles available include the Nimbus vest in infant, child and youth sizes; the Comfort Fit, in four adult sizes, for canoe and general boating; the Abacus for dinghy sailors; the Darwin for kayaking; and the Antigua pullover jacket for offshore use.

Contact Salus Marine Wear Inc.
Kitchener, ON
Tel.: (519) 579-3131

“Small Company with a Big Difference”
Ontario Sailor
January/February 2003

SALUS Marine Wear is a small manufacturing company with a BIG difference.

“We make PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) that deserve to be worn,” says president Steve Wagner. All of the Salus products – from our entry level children’s vest to high performance sail and kayak vests – are consumer driven with comfort, style, fit and utility at the forefront of every design. The foremost consideration in any PFD is wearability – defined as something you will WANT TO wear. And Salus PFDs are most certainly wearable.

SALUS is proud to announce that the Canadian Yachting Association CYA is outfitting the Canadian Sailing Team  with the ABACUS sailing vest.

For more information call 1-877-418-9998


“Salus means safety”
Boating Industry Magazine
April 2004

Four years ago, when Steve Wagner developed the thinking behind Salus Marine Wear, it was to ensure that people wore their personal flotation devices (PFDs). Steve looked at conventional PFDs for all areas of boating; kayaks, canoes, power and sail. He videotaped the users of the jackets and then talked with them about what they liked and didn’t like about their current flotation devices.

Wagner is a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Industrial Design. After designing PFDs and hockey equipment, Steve saw an opportunity for an innovative product. He launched Salus at the 2001 Toronto International Boat Show and his staff has grown to over a dozen.

In an interview with the Toronto Star, Wagner was questioned about setting up in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. His response was that the closing of many companies in the so-called needle trade (Greb boots, Kaufman footwear and Arrow shirts) left a large experienced labour pool there to draw from.

Boating Industry Canada had the oppontunity to meet with Steve at the annual Canadian Safe Boating Awards (CASBA) dinner in January where Salus was presented with the Marine Manufacturer’s Award for a technological development improving boating safety or the environment.

A story told at dinner about how Salus names all of its PFDs highlighted one name in particular as having great significance. While conducting a photo shoot for the kayaking vest, Steve had to clamber down an embankment and cross a stream to get to the area where the kayakers were being photographed. With the stack of PFDs stacked neatly on his back, Steve stepped into a deep area of the stream and completely disappeared! Only the bundle of PFDs was visible.

Everyone knows that a PFD will float you safely when properly worn. A half dozen PFDs strapped to your back should not be considered “appropriate” and will not do what a single vest is intended to do. Fortunately for all of us, Steve extricated himself and continued on, albeit a little wet, to complete the photo shoot. The new PFD is now aptly known as the Darwin, after the award named in honour of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution.

The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honouring those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it. Steve is definitely not a candidate.

Salus Marine Wear offers eight lines of flotation devices, from the Nimbus for children, through the Abacus – adopted by the Canadian Yachting Association as the offical vest of the CYA high performance sailing team and their coaches – to the Antigua, an offshore pullover and jacket.

Safety, comfort, design and looks all add up to a product that has made an impact on the Canadian boating scene in only four short years. Steve’s tireless support of his retailers at all of the major shows is his personal trademark. We look forward to watching the hard work pay off for Salus Marine Wear.

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“Oh Buoy”

Rapid The Whitewater Magazine


Salus’ Proto will keep you on top whether you’re creeking or play boating. This PFD has a contoured back pad for extra comfort and rib protection.

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“Keep Your Head Up”

Adventure Kayak Magazine

Spring 2014


The Proto takes cues from Salus’ Torrent and Jazz whitewater PFDs, as well as borrowing elements of backpack design. One such innovation is the pocket on the back of the vest that stores and conceals a two-litre hydration bladder. Please click HERE for full article and video.

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Rapid Magazine

2014 Annual Paddling Buyers Guide

When looking for inspiration to create what is quite possibly the best white-water paddle vest, Salus looked to not only the Jazz and the Torrent, but also to the makers of backpacks. This versatile storage system provides convenient access for both right and left hand paddlers while offering multiple knife and lash tab locations. One of the more innovative features is the water bottle storage system that secures multiple size bladders and offers a tidy tunnel in the shoulder.

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“Gear Hound”
Adventure Kayak Magazine
Summer 2004

Dogs are inherently good swimmers – they even have a popular stroke named after them. But if you are putting your dog in any situation where the “doggy paddle” may be inadequate – whitewater or surf for example – it is your responsibility to set your hairy friend up with the best flotation money can buy. There are a few critical details to look for in any flotation device for your dog; a secure method of attachment, proper buoyancy distribution, and a handle. The need for a handle becomes apparent when one tries to help a terrified terrier or neurotic Newfoundlander back aboard a semi-swamped kayak!

4 Salus Skippy Dog Vest
What puts Skippy ahead of the pack is the foam zone; the back of the coat is mesh and foam wraps the belly, chest and sides instead. Doggy floats higher, and when lifted his weight is distributed across the padding – nowhere do straps touch fur. Three clip attachments with buckles on the opposite side for a centred fit in case Dog chews too many sea biscuits and beefs up. One open-topped mesh pocket. Two handles for heaving waterlogged heavies. Canadian made. Red or blue.

“Pet Safety Ahoy!”
Canadian Yachting Magazine
October 2004

The new designs and fabrics have made for a better fitting, cooler and safer life jacket for your other best friend. Just think of the logistics of trying to rescue your dog from some rough water with no hands to grasp, the inability to communicate and maybe a high free board that creates an insurmountable barrier. I love  giving gifts that are really for me.



Rapid Media Paddling Buyers Guide


The Salus Torrent is a unisex vest designed to accommodate a quick release belt making it ideal for guiding and tripping. The back pad has full spinal protection and contoured arch ensuring a perfect fit.

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“Salus Marine Wear Torrent”
Rapid Magazine
Summer 2006

At first the Torrent looks too stylish to be a utilitarian rescue vest, but then you realize Salus has just taken steps to keep the various straps and buckles tucked away behind functional panels. A pleated, zippered chest pocket expands to accommodate essentials and also cover the cinch buckles for the shoulder straps. Around back, a thin foam panel hides the shoulder-strap equalization system that allows one strap to tighten when the other is pulled. The vest is compatible with a quick-release belt for a tow line, and has a domed flap to hide the carabiner when not deployed. Kayakers may find the knife attachment point a little low on their chest, but there’s also a mesh pocket inside the front pocket for a loose knife.

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“Kayak Touring”

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

Annual 2014


The Ungava is a unisex vest with the Salus trademark and features soft, rounded edges and a contoured fit. It also has the bonus features of fleece lined pockets and the option to attach a quick release belt.

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“Sea Kayak Supplements – Performance Enhancing Gear”

Adventure Kayak

Spring 2012

Ungava is an Inuit term meaning “towards the open water” – a fitting name for Salus’ new, full-featured touring vest.  The Ungava has a traditional center front zip entry, a Dry-lex breathable liner and roomy upper body for a comfortable fit.  Click HERE to read full article.

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World Championships with Billy Harris

Billy Harris Small Wave Shakedown

Whitewater with Billy Harris

Kayaking at Bus Eater

Customer voyage/testimonial video Part I

Customer voyage/testimonial video Part II