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Personal Flotation Vests - PFDs

Personal Flotation Vests - PFDs

PFD STANDS FOR PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICE U.S. Coast Guard Regulations require you to have U.S. Coast Guard approved PFDs on your recreational boat. How many and what kind of PFDs you need depends on the number of people onboard, the size of your boat and the kind of boating you will be doing.

PFD Classifications Personal floatation devices are classified by location of use. Choose the right PFD for the location and type of boating you plan to do.

  • Type I is for offshore operations.
  • Type II is for boating near shore.
  • Type III is a buoyancy aide to be used where rescue situations may be imminent.
  • Type IV is to be thrown to an individual needing immediate assistance.
  • Type V is a specialty PFD for specific activities or consumers.

PFD Sizing

Find your proper size by reading the chest-size range on the PFD's inside label. Make sure it's U.S. Coast Guard approved for your size, weight and type of activity. If you do different types of boating, you should get the right PFD for each. Children's PFDs are sized by suggested weight ranges. Know your child's weight before selecting a PFD or take your child to the store to try it on. It's very important to select a PFD your child can easily wear.

Fitting Tips

Try on several PFD models with different amounts of clothing, to gauge how the PFD will feel when worn during different seasons. Adjustable straps will help you alter the fit for the amount of clothing you'll wear. A PFD should fit snugly. If it's too loose it won't provide proper floatation. To check fit, put on the PFD and tighten all straps and close zippers. Then raise your arms above your head and have someone lift the PFD at your shoulders. If it moves freely and almost comes off, or if the main zipper touches your nose, it's too big. The procedure is the same for fitting children's PFDs.

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