Georgia Boater Education Course


TYPES OF PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)terminology for a life preserver, either a jacket or throwable device. also known as PFDs or lifejackets, save lives. It’s as simple as that.

It’s why the U.S. Coast Guard requires that PFDs be carried onboard all vessels. They are the most important piece of safety equipment on your boat, and you should wear one whenever you’re boating.

When you’re choosing a PFD, you need to make sure that:

  • It is the appropriate type for your boating location and activity;
  • It is the right size and has enough buoyancy to support you in the water; and
  • It is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Let’s explore the different types of PFDs, so you know what to look for.

PFD TYPE

BEST FOR

DISADVANTAGES

NOTES

TYPE I:

OFFSHORE LIFE JACKET

 

All waters, especially open, rough, or remote waters where rescue can be delayed

Large and awkward; difficult to swim in

Adult size: 22 lb. of buoyancy.

Child size: 11 lb. of buoyancy.

Will turn unconscious wearers to face-up position.

TYPE II:

NEAR-SHORE BUOYANT VEST

Calm, inland waters The navigable waters of the United States shoreward of the navigational demarcation lines dividing the high seas from harbors, rivers, and other inland waters of the United States, and the waters of the Great Lakes on the United States side of the International Boundary. where there is a good chance of rescue

May not turn some unconscious wearers face-up

Adult size: 15 1/2 lb. of buoyancy.

Child size: 11 lb. of buoyancy.

Infant size: 7 lb. of buoyancy.

Will turn some unconscious wearers to face-up position.

TYPE III:

FLOTATION AID

Calm, inland waters where there is a good chance of rescue

Wearers must put themselves in face-up position

Same buoyancy as Type II.

examples:

Float coat, fishing vest, water sport vest.

TYPE IV:

THROWABLE DEVICE

All waters where help is present

Not designed to be worn; intended for use in waters with heavy boat traffic

Designed to be thrown and grasped until rescued; never worn.

examples:

Cushions, ring buoys, horseshoe buoys

TYPE V:

SPECIAL USE DEVICE

Specific activities; check approval condition on label

Some Type Vs are designed for cooler climates and others are approved only when worn

Some Type V devices provide hypothermiaa drop in body temperature below the normal level. protection.

examples:

Deck suits, work vests, boardsailing vests