*Personal Floatation Devices*
Do you own a boat? Ever gone shopping for a life jacket and not been able to figure out what to get? What’s Type I, II, III, IV & V mean? Well, it’s time to clear up the confusion. First of all you need to find out what is required for your vessel. Typically marine stores will have the requirements list for sale. You can also contact your local coast guard station and inquire.
If you’re not going to be on the salt water, but on a lake, pond or river all of the requirements are governed by the state.
PFD’s are designed to keep you afloat while in the water. They may be in the form of a vest, coat, cushion, full body suit, lifering etc. Innertubes, wood and anything that will float you will also do the trick, they’re not acceptable as a PFD, but work in an emergency.
PFD’s must comply with Coast Guard specifications and regulations. A useable PFD will have a CG approval # on the label. Typically the # starts with 161.40…..
It must be in good serviceable condition and be sized for the user. Putting a 10 year old child in an adult size lifejacket is not acceptable.
Different types of PFD’s:
Type I-"Offshore life jacket"
Adult- 90lbs and over
At least 20 lbs of buoyancy
Child- less than 90 lbs
At least 11lbs of buoyancy
They are international orange
Donning (putting it on)
Pull it over your head
Place body strap around body, clip and adjust
Tuck in all straps.
Type II- "Near shore buoyancy vest"
Adult-greater than 90 lbs
15.5 lbs of buoyancy
Child (Medium) 50-90 lbs
11lbs of buoyancy
Less than 50 lbs
Less than 30 lbs
Each has 7lbs of buoyancy
Same as Type I
Usually has a chest tie
Type III- "Floatation Aid" i.e. vest, floatcoat
Type IV- "Throwing device" must also be CG accepted. It will have approval # on label.
Life rings and cushions, they are designed to be thrown to a person in the water.
Life rings must be white or orange
Cushions may be any color
Type V- "Special use devices" i.e. Mustang anti-exposure coverall
That is the rundown of all types of PFD’s. Remember that PFD’s should be worn. People have the common misconception that they’ll be able to put it on before they need to go in the water. WRONG!!!! If a boat capsizes, takes a wave and washes you overboard, suddenly turns and ejects you, you don’t have time to grab and put on a lifejacket.
Remember, a boat is nothing more than a hole in the water that you throw money into. Leave it at that. Don’t throw your life away.
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