Types of Personal Flotation Devices – PFD’s
Life jackets save lives, but only if worn. There are many different comfortable life jackets available for specific water activities and environments, and for swimmers and non-swimmers, women, men, children and pets. The best life jacket is one that you will wear. Become more knowledgeable about the importance of life jackets by visiting the U. S. Coast Guard’s page on wearing your life jacket and download their guide on how to choose the right life jacket.
One-half of all recreational boating fatalities happen in calm water and all are unexpected.– U.S. Coast Guard
USCG PFD Type I Off-Shore Life Jacket
This life vest is best for open, rough or remote water, or where rescue may be slow coming. Provides the best flotation. Turns most unconscious wearers face-up in the water. Inflatable Type I PFD’s have two air chambers and inflate automatically when submerged.
USCG PFD Type II Near-Shore Buoyant Life Vest
Good for calm, inland waters or where rescue is likely to happen quickly. Turns some unconscious wearers face-up in water. Inflatable Type II PFD’s inflate automatically when submerged and are suitable for many rough water uses.
USCG PFD Type III Flotation Aid
Usually the most comfortable life vest for continuous wear. Good for calm, inland waters or where rescue is likely to happen quickly. Inflatable Type III PFD’s will keep unconscious wearers face-up in water after inflation.
USCG PFD Type IV Throwable Flotation Device
Good for calm, inland water with heavy boat traffic where help is always nearby. Device can be thrown to the wearer and some can be used as a flotation cushion.
USCG PFD Type V Special Use Personal Flotation Device
Made for specific conditions and activities and to be used only for the designated use. Some devices only approved when worn. Refer to PDF label on device for limitations on use. Types include boardsailing vests, work vests and hybrid PFD’s.