Injury Prevention

Life Jackets

Life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) are an important part of water safety. They are designed to keep your head above water and in a position to facilitate proper breathing. Use life jackets that are tested by Underwater Laboratories and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

There are several different types of life jackets that come in different sizes. Using the guidelines at the bottom of the page, make sure that you have the correct life jacket for every member of your family. When purchasing a life jacket, talk to the sales representative about the size and weight restrictions.

Safety Tips

  • Teach children how to put their life jackets on.
  • Make sure all straps are belted and in the right buckle.
  • Loose straps should be tucked securely.
  • Life jackets should fit snugly and not ride up the individual’s torso.
  • For children, try the jacket on the child and then lift him up by the top of the jacket. The jacket should not ride up over the chin and ears. If it does, try the smaller size. If you can’t drop a size – due to a weight restriction, find a jacket that has a crotch strap.
  • Make sure life jackets are not torn or leaking.
  • Always dry life jacket before storing.

Life Jacket Safety Chart

Type I – Off-shore Life Jacket
Used in open or coastal waters and potentially rough seas where quick rescue may not be available. Will turn unconscious individuals face up in the water.

Sizes

Adult

90 pounds or more

Child

89 pounds or less

Type II – Near-shore Buoyant Vest
Used for general boating in calm water where quick rescue is available. Will turn most individuals face up in the water.

Sizes

Adult

90 pounds or more

Child

89 pounds or less

Infant

30 pounds or less

Type III – Flotation Aid
Used for general boating activities such as canoeing, kayaking, hunting and fishing, on calm water where quick rescue is available. Will provide face-up position in calm water, but is not intended to turn or maintain an unconscious individual face up in the water.

Sizes: Vary. Should be stated on tag sewn to inside of vest with specific weight limits.

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Last Update
July 12, 2010
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Last Update
July 12, 2010
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