Practice threading your quick release belt using the friction buckle. Make certain the belt isn't twisted anywhere around the vest. If you have too much belt tail extruding through the plastic quick release buckle, consider trimming so it extrudes only a couple of inches. If possible, use only a continuous metal ring that is designed for the belt. If you can't get one, use only a locking carabineer. The last thing you need is to have a non-locking carabineer latch onto to a belt loop and defeating the quick release system.

Water rescues (exactly what the rescue vest is designed for) are inherently dangerous. After practicing release techniques on dry land, find someone you trust and practice in water. Get to the point where you can release the belt underwater with your eyes closed. If simply towing kayaks, some choose to skip the friction buckle and rely only on the plastic quick release buckle. This allows the belt to release much faster and with a significantly smaller pulling load. Although this seems to be safer, it really isn't. The plastic buckle isn't made to take significant loads, make break or shatter and cause the belt to jam. Always thread at least one run through the metal friction bar. Under heavier load uses like vertical work, lowers, tethers, etc. - always use both the friction bar and plastic release buckle.

The attachment (tether or rope) to the rescue belt can be a potential hazard. I strongly recommend using the continuous steel ring provided by the PFD manufacturer rather than a carabineer of any sort. These rings are specifically designed for the PFD belt so they smoothly traverse the belt as needed. If you use a carabineer, it must be a locking carabineer and make certain it it locked. A non-locking carabineer could potentially slide along the belt and hook one of very sturdy belt loops totally defeating the release from the rope.

Let's be honest, its rough out there (sounds like Rodney Dangerfield). You will be bounced around, dunked, etc. Practice different body positions like balling up and spreading out - both are useful. Get a feel for how you float in waves and holes. By all means, practice the buckle release technique - you should be able to do this with your eyes closed.

The release belt is designed to make it easy to release in pretty forceful tensioned loads. Sometimes the belt doesn't release all that fast in lighter loads as in towing equipment - you might need to help the release manually. If the pressure gets too strong, don't take chances - pull the release. Many belts will not release on their own under very heavy loads which can harm you - don't let it get that far. Remember - your personal safety is the highest priority.