Yes, you do have to be careful. The West Marine 4000 Series PFDs, now discontinued, were only safe to wear if you were 5'8" or taller...
The only ones I've found that seem to work well for people shorter than 5' 5" are the Spinlocks.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.