Personal flotation devices, commonly referred to as PFDs, are also known as life jackets and life vests, are life-saving devices. They are used for work and recreation.
There are different ratings for different types of PFDs. This rating depends on the buoyancy needed and the application of the device. The devices are rated as Type I, II, III, IV and V. These PFDs are required and/or recommended by the U.S. Coast Guard and state law enforcement agencies for different applications. The minimum amount of buoyancy for each device type is listed below:
Type I = Designed for extended survival in rough, open or remote water. It has the highest float rating and usually will turn an unconscious person face up. Minimum buoyancy rating 22 lbs. adults, 11 lbs child, 7 lbs infant.
Type II (Near-Shore Buoyant Vest) - Best use for adults and children in calm inland water where a fast rescue will probably occur. Slightly less bulky than Type I vests, and can turn some unconscious people face-up. Minimum buoyancy 15.5 lbs. adults, 11 lbs child, 7 lbs infant.
Type III (Flotation Aid) - For use in calm water by conscious users, where there is high probability of a fast rescue. Type III is generally the “paddler’s choice” because they are designed for general boating/water activities as marked on the vest, and are more comfortable. Minimum buoyancy 15.5 lbs. adults, 11 lbs child, 7 lbs infant.
Type IV (Throwable Devices) - Boat cushions, rings, and horseshoe buoys. These are for use in calm water where there is a high probability of fast rescue. They are not designed to be worn and should be supplemented with a wearable PFD. Varying minimum buoyancy 16.5 to 18 lbs dependent on device.
Type V (Special Use Devices) - “Special-Use” PFDs include commercial whitewater rafting vests, work vests, deck suits, and hybrid inflatables with restricted use for specific activities as outlined on the vest – be sure to READ the USCG instructions sewn or printed on the device. Varying minimum buoyancy 15 to 22 lbs dependent on device.
Need more information to select the right PFDs? Call the experts at Mariner Sails at 972-241-1498.